Save the Children publishes research into their use of photography

Save the Children have published a report which explores how they make and use photographs. ‘The People in the Pictures’ report, available here brings together research from four countries; the UK, Jordan, Bangladesh and Niger, which took place over a two year period.

The report invited different individuals and communities to discuss their views on a range of content created by Save the Children, particularly for fundraising purposes, and makes a number of recommendations as a result, including:

  • Invest in creative and collaborative approaches to image making.
  • Uphold contributors’ rights and fulfil the duty of care.
  • Informed consent to be understood as an essential process.
  • Commit to sensitive and effective communication before, during and after image gathering.
  • Ensure that human dignity is upheld in the image-making process, not just in the image itself.

PhotoVoice’s projects have a long history of using photography in an ethical and sensitive way. The report links to our Statement of Ethical Practice and we welcome its findings, particularly as participatory techniques are referenced in a number of places. Save the Children have said the report is a starting point for greater dialogue across the sector, which PhotoVoice supports and looks forward to contributing to, particularly as it represents a major part of our ongoing strategy.

Images used for fundraising by organisations throughout the NGO sector continue to cause debate, a topic we’ve explored at various points throughout our history and will continue to do so, celebrating where organisations use fundraising materials sensitively and responsibly, and promoting approaches based on our extensive experience of doing so.  We welcome any activities which seek to challenge some of the more problematic depictions of communities and individuals and improve them, and hope that this report helps other organisations to consider their own practice as well.

For advice, support and guidance about ethical image use, developing informed consent processes, using participatory practices and creating programmes and projects which use photography for social change, contact us.

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