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19 June 2009

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John,

a powerful, brilliantly insightful post.

At the time Nachtwey published this essay many of us who have worked on health projects overseas expressed our horror. The presentation of these photographs will only serve to stigmatize those who become victims of the disease.

These photos will also cause despair and fear in those who have this form of TB for what the future holds. The message here is 'you are poor, powerless and will die'. Unless of course we save you. It reinforces the sense that the developing world is dependent on the West.

Justice infact is not dependent on what we give, but quite literally on what we take; on the relaxing of trade restrictions designed to keep us in prosperity and others in poverty.

On your comments on representations I think you might be interested in two posts on duckrabbit. In the first we questioned MSF's reliance on Western photographers to shoot their projects and also their failure to show African Dr's engaged in life saving aid work.

http://duckrabbit.info/blog/2009/04/msf-photoblog/

Secondly we looked at what is undoubtedly one of Africa's biggest problems - its overly negative branding.

http://duckrabbit.info/blog/2009/04/brand-africa-what-a-disaster/

Thanks again for a thoughtful post. Photojournalists take note!


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