Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fair Trade Photography

Girls jumping in in Pisac, Peru
Photo credit: Robin Utrecht/APN Photo/Copyright 2007

(News) The idea that professional photographers from the rich world can't help but offer a skewed image--typically negative--of the developing world is gaining ground. (The children typically seem very sad; the nurses and doctors are always white. A similar image problem affects environmental news coverage, as Van Jones notes on the Gristmill blog)

One possible corrective is greater distribution of images taken by ordinary people of their lives, as can be found at Ethiopialives.net, which I profiled last year on Time.com.

But why stop there? Photojournalism is a way of making money, after all.

Enter a couple of agencies/websites that offer "fair-trade photography," meaning the images are for sale from local photographers in the so-called developing world or in cases where models are used, the models are compensated for their image in the same fashion as in the developed world.

Fair-Trade Photography List (copyrighted photos, fee required), so far:

World-portraits.com (ANP Photo; compensated models)

Please use the comment form (below) to let me know of others.

Hat tips to Brown for Global Health blog and THDblog for pointing me in the direction of Majorityworld.com

Also worth noting, if rather controversial in the fair trade movement, the following microstock agencies, profiled by Robert Levine in a recent Business 2.0 article: fotolia.com, dreamstime.com and shutterstock.com. Although not specifically targetted to developing world photographers, they solicit photos from a wide range of amateur to professional photographers and make them available for much less than what Corbis, Getty or the above fair-trade sites charge. Naturally, the compensation for photographers from these microstock agencies is much less as well.

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