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World Press or Propaganda?

There are at least three ways of looking at this (and probably many more):

1: Jodie Bieber won the World Press Award for an important and eloquent photograph that has done much to highlight the abuse of women and their resilience in the face of unspeakable barbarism.

2: The photograph that won the World Press was used as propaganda that helps justify the billions of pounds of profit made from war. Bieber is not to blame for this and this should not be a consideration in the jury’s mind.

3: The photograph that won the World Press was used as propaganda that helps justify the billions of pounds of profit made from war. Bieber is complicit in the way the image of Aisha has been (ab)used.

If the answer is 1 then we should all be celebrating the award going to Bieber but if it is 2 or 3 then we should be worried.

I would not be the only person who is genuinely concerned that words were may have been put into Aisha’s mouth (not of course by Bieber). Read this extract from an interview with veteran journalist Ann Jones, who spoke with Aisha, as featured on Democracy Now:

UAN GONZALEZ: I’d like to ask you about one woman that became the front page of Time magazine in August, Bibi Aisha, the young Afghan woman who was pictured, her face mutilated, with the headline “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan.” You’ve been particularly critical of that story and how the media have manipulated it. Could you talk about that?
ANN JONES: I was very concerned about the exploitation of that personal family tragedy in order to make a case for keeping American troops in Afghanistan and continuing this war, in which so many Afghans have suffered. Bibi Aisha’s case was not uncommon. Her particular mutilation has been her nose and ears being cut off. There are four cases of it reported this year by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. This, after Americans have been protecting Afghan women for eight or nine years in Afghanistan. This happens to be the way some Pashtun families treat women in order to keep them in servitude to the family. We are not going to change that by the presence of troops, and we’re not going to stop it by the presence of troops.


AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us her story, though, and how you feel it was misrepresented, in being on the cover, Time’s case for why the US is there?
ANN JONES: Mm-hmm. Bibi Aisha ran away from her parents-in-law’s house. Her husband was absent elsewhere in doing some kind of work or looking for work. She was treated as a servant and physically abused all the time. She ran away. Her father-in-law caught up with her and did this mutilation. The Time story amplifies that, saying it was done under orders by Taliban commanders and so on. That is not the story I heard from Bibi Aisha when I talked with her. But—


JUAN GONZALEZ: And you spoke to her before this Time story had ever come out.
ANN JONES: I spoke to her several weeks before, and other journalists have spoken to her, as well, and have reported the mutilation, but not this supposed instruction of the Taliban to do this. So I think the story changed in some way. How that happened, I don’t know. This young woman was deeply traumatized, and we know that people in that circumstance have selective memory or repressed memory, and maybe it changed later. I don’t know.

Bieber did not write the headline that accompanied the photo. She did not conduct an interview with Aisha. She did what she was paid to do and she did it brilliantly.  It can be argued that this is where her work as a journalist ended, with the photograph and that beyond that she has no other responsibilities.

But that’s not the way I see it and its not the way that Bieber sees it either. If you go to her website on the front page you will see the picture of the front cover of TIME.  She could just present the image of Aisha, the one that actually won the award, but the message she seems to be sending out is that the cover is more important than the person framed in it.

I am left wondering, and I am not the only one, if for Bieber fame is more important than truth? Why is the cover of Time the first thing we see when we visit her website if she is not promoting both the image and the way it was used?

If we are to celebrate and applaud the important truth that Bieber has so brilliantly captured, then surely its logical that at the same time we should despair at the way the photograph has been twisted?

I think we owe Aisha at least that.

Apparently not:

Other Thinking:

David Campbell: Jodi Bieber’s Afghan girl portrait in context

‘Most of us in the viewing public encounter photographs in one context or another. We rarely if ever see them in isolation, devoid of contextual elements. Shouldn’t WPP somehow consider the way images are published and circulated? I am not suggesting that the organisation take political issues and interpretations into account when making their decision. But can we really judge photographs in isolation as discrete objects any more?’

Politics, Theory, Philosophy – Category Mistake at World Press Photo Awards ~ Top Prize Given Not for Photojournalism But for Propaganda

The category mistake is that, perhaps despite the photographer’s intention*, this image was an integral part of a TIME Magazine propaganda piece last summer. I have defended that claim here repeatedly and will not reiterate my view. What I find especially disturbing here is that the jurors are aiding and abetting the propaganda campaign by de-contextualizing Bieber’s photo, presenting it as an iconic representation of the plight of women across the globe. In fact, it was deployed to much different ends, namely in an attempt to shore up support for a brutal decade old war. None of the jurors quoted on the World Press Photo page so much as mention the war or its costs. Shame.’

Conscientious- It is that time of the year again

There seem to be way too many shades of grey in this whole debate for simple decisions. And even if we assumed it was propaganda – would it be so wrong to pick a photo that will generate some debate? Don’t we need more debate about Afghanistan, our war there, and especially how our media portray/sell us the war – and not less?

Sojourneposse – Hyperrealistic portrayal of Asian women in the Western press

‘The media has the tendency to over-generalise a complicated reality, and in doing so, perhaps out of editorial convenience, it exaggerate some facts and omit others. Photography is a powerful propaganda tool, and its job is to amplify the message, or whatever is left of the original message after editing.

The positive images, probably too ordinary and not ‘sensational’, are frequently overlooked for publication.

We need to have a more mature and balanced view in depicting Asian women in conflict zones, and in general. We need to see representations not always framed as a ‘beautiful portrayal’ of sufferings by martyrs, saints, victims or enigmatic beings.

BagNewsNotes – What’s Wrong With The World Press Choice Of Photo Of The Year?

‘This is not to say, however, that Ms. Bieber’s striking photo should be solely penalized as top prize winner, or my critique hinged on the impact of the TIME controversy. Given the photo alone, however, the question I have to ask myself is: how much is the photo a window into Aisha’s life and past circumstances as opposed to a mirror reflecting the eye of the media as informed by the interests and tastes of the Western visual media consumer?’

30 responses to “World Press or Propaganda?”

  1. Duck;

    Good questions, and we share some common ground, though I have a slightly different take at http://www.david-campbell.org/2011/02/14/thinking-images-v10-bieber-afghan-portrait/

    Of your options, I would probably go with (2) as the closest to my view. I’m interested, building on Jim Johnson’s arguments, how the Bieber portrait was like most portraits made without much context, was then put into a particular context via Time, and then de-contextualised again by the WPP award and process.

    The fact Jodi has the Time cover on her home page does raise questions. In fairness, note too the foundation, the Bibi Aisha Fund, she links to with the pictures.

    cheers

  2. You raise an interesting point with regards to the frame being more important than the person in the photograph. Time and Nat Geo are particularly good at branding their issues with the stories, I’d like to say ‘glamorizing it’ but I feel that its to easy a description. More like, using their long term position within American culture to act as a platform in creating armchair tourism in the West. The image is undoubtedly propaganda.. I realised this when going back and studying Afghan Girl taken in 1985 and looking at political motives around that time.

    I think this entire scenario is more a critique on the way in which stories are covered and relayed back to the masses. We used to talk about how Editors chose images to increase publication sales but now we’re on unsettling ground by questioning the photographers motives. This may have been a topic for long time but I think that in this industry dip, there is a lot to be said for photojournalists who actually strive to give a near as honest account of a situation as possible. Not to be objective (as I don’t believe in such a thing) but to visually articulate something in a way which is humanistic and emotional…. its an idea of a perfect world I suppose and it does separate the real photographers from the fakes.

    Editors are a separate issue altogether and renowned photo competition organisations condoning such slander is a big realization that there needs to be a massive shake up in the way that images are captured and displayed.

    I feel that Jodi Bieber shot a great image describing that it was to portray a beautiful, strong girl who still radiated strength after a harrowing ordeal. However, maybe Bieber didn’t realise what she was doing when she positioned Aisha on her site like this.
    Perhaps we’re so deep in the motions of propaganda of the East that Bieber just didn’t realise what message she was communicating when she assigned Aisha Bibi to such a frame.

    Maybe its gone that far?

    • duckrabbit says:

      ‘I feel that Jodi Bieber shot a great image describing that it was to portray a beautiful, strong girl who still radiated strength after a harrowing ordeal. However, maybe Bieber didn’t realise what she was doing when she positioned Aisha on her site like this.
      Perhaps we’re so deep in the motions of propaganda of the East that Bieber just didn’t realise what message she was communicating when she assigned Aisha Bibi to such a frame.’

      I’m afraid I think that’s wishful thinking.

      Jodi will not be the first, nor the last ‘journalist’ to make the exposure to be gained from a story more important than the person in the photograph.

  3. Jenny Lynn Walker says:

    You give three choices – I’d like to give a fourth.

    4. Jodi Bieber took an eloquent and important photograph that highlights a horrific abuse of a young woman and the facts surrounding who committed the crime against her remain disputed and in doubt. Until the information shared with the photograph makes known that the facts of her story remain disputed and in doubt, it’s legitimacy as an image also remains disputed and in doubt – particularly given that it was run on the cover of the magazine that commissioned it in a way that was highly manipulative, based on a version of the facts that was completely inconsistent with all other versions of the facts.

  4. I’m not sure I see what’s wrong with showing what you think is your most important tear sheet on the front page of your web site? Nothing wrong with promoting your business as a photographer is there? Isn’t that what we all do?

    The caption and the link to the Bibi Aisha fund both seem fair to me.

    • duckrabbit says:

      Hi Andrew,

      there is nothing wrong as long as you are happy with the way TIME used the image. But of course you are not just promoting your photography but how it is used.

      Not sure what the fund has to do with anything?

  5. Jenny Lynn Walker says:

    Story 1: Aisha’s father-in-law did this mutilation as she ran away from home.

    Story 2: The Taliban ordered this to be done to Aisha as she ran away from home.

    Which story is more interesting and why?
    Which story is the one that Aisha told to most of those who interviewed her?
    Which story was run in Time magazine?
    Which story is WPP running with?
    Which story is the truth?

    Is it okay to award the image the top prize for photojournalism when it is not truly known if story 1 or story 2 is the truth? And after the prize has been awarded, is it okay to circulate that image without telling anyone that there is an alternative story that may actually be the truth?

  6. Sojournposse says:

    Hi Ben, I am glad you brought this up. Previously Sojournposse have raised this – exploitation of Asian female oppression issue for propaganda purpose. http://www.sojournposse.com/?s=jodi+bieber

    But being a small indie journal, we do feel like the topic it fell on deaf ears of the big, mainstream photo journals. I am glad people like David Campbell wrote intelligent analysis about this. I don’t have issue with Bieber’s work personally. It’s just the one-sided context it was presented – to fuel public anger and justify the US military occupation in Afghanistan.

    To me the WPP award is pretty defunct anyway. I say that because since 2004, their 5 top picks are suffering figures of Central Asian/Middle Eastern female. WPP, like any other awards, have a ‘brand’ they have to adhere to. In their case, being shocking and full of gore. WPP is representing ‘The Other’ point-of-view. There are good social scoops, but they just buried under the sensational pieces.

    Sadly though, unlike image experts like us, the word people (newspaper editors) out there don’t really know how to look at photography. They just run the “iconic” photo galleries – no question, no debate. So now we have a mutilated Asian female as an ‘icon’, giving out a negative message about this region to the readers. Right-wing politicians are rubbing they hands to exploit this to justify ‘muscular liberalism’ etc.

    I’m invited by BBC World Service Uzbek this week to talk about photojournalism, censorship in the region and negative stereotype of Asian female in the Western media. We’ll discuss World Press Photo, of course. I look forward to hear their thoughts. Thanks.

    ZH, creative director, Sojournposse.

    • James Dodd says:

      “since 2004, their 5 top picks are suffering figures of Central Asian/Middle Eastern female”
      not to be pedantic, but you can see the previous winners here. photo of the year has included images of (and in this order) an iranian woman, 2 american men in 2 different photos, a car full of young lebanese women and a man and an african woman: http://www.archive.worldpressphoto.org/years

      I do get you’re point tho

  7. Obviously the TIME head line is a load of shite and you might have a point about the being associated with it.

    But if you click through the second thing you see is how to give funds to help this poor woman and that can be no bad thing.

    Jenny what if the father-in-law was a member of the Taliban?

    • duckrabbit says:

      Hi Andrew,

      I think its a cheap trade off to on the one hand be promoting a headline that is an argument for spending billions of dollars on weapons, and on the other hand asking for donations to help this young woman.

      Taking Aisha to America is not a sustainable solution to the huge numbers of victims of the war; its a token gesture (though I agree not a bad one!).

      And by the way I’m all for getting rid of these kinds of cultural crimes against women, and if it could be done by killing the Taliban, fair enough, but I just don’t think it will work. On the other hand it will make a lot of lords of war an awfully lot richer.

  8. Jenny Lynn Walker says:

    Andrew,

    Then there would not be two different stories – one involving the Taliban and the other a story of abuse within a family.

    There are two different stories.

  9. Personally, I was rarely happy with the way Time used my images, and would often let them know (not that it did any good). That said, I don’t know what kind of dialog took place between Time and Bieber (or Time and someone speaking on her behalf). I’m inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt in this manner. Why not ask her?

    Word people in general, including the editors of Time, tend to rely on the ancient myth that the camera doesn’t lie. Assuming or hoping, that if the pictures match the words the reader will believe them both. I think that’s why the photo budgets of the past were so high. It wasn’t a matter of finding great images, but a matter of finding the proper image to reinforce the text.

    Without knowing the specifics, I don’t think it’s possible to place blame, or to understand the photographer’s motivation here.

    That said, one of the basic rules of the photojournalist is to be true to your subject and to tell their story as honestly as possible. If you do, regardless of the images and how others interpret them, you’ll usually find yourself on the proper side of any controversy.

    • duckrabbit says:

      Hi Kenneth,

      thanks for your comment. Jodi has been asked about the cover, in an interview on the BBC and her reply was that different people can read it in different ways.

      This is a really interesting point:

      ‘I think that’s why the photo budgets of the past were so high. It wasn’t a matter of finding great images, but a matter of finding the proper image to reinforce the text.’

      I’ve never suggested that the photographer is to blame for the text that went with the photo. Clearly she is happy with the cover though because it is the first thing you see when you go to her website.

      This comment is BANG ON:

      ‘That said, one of the basic rules of the photojournalist is to be true to your subject and to tell their story as honestly as possible. If you do, regardless of the images and how others interpret them, you’ll usually find yourself on the proper side of any controversy.’

      THANKS

      Benjamin

  10. Sojournposse says:

    @ James Dodd – Hi, thanks for that link. It is important to be pedantic, especially for photo editors.

    World Press Photo winners: 2004 (India), 2006 (Lebanon), 2009 (Iran), 2010 (Afghanistan). In 2009 ‘special’ multimedia mention, the video of Neda Aga Soltan (Iran) who lay dying and bleeding all over herself in the street. On Youtube. That’s five out of 7 years. Thanks.

  11. One should be aware that this sort of attacks on women are not new, nor are they restricted to Afghanistan. I took this picture in 2001: http://archive.felixfeatures.com/image/I00007VU9Fh2AmRg

  12. Tom White says:

    I commented over on David Campbell’s post, but here’s the gist of what I was getting at there:

    I think as a community, we need to work harder in treating visual journalism as documents and be more rigorous in our scrutiny of these documents. This includes acknowledging their use as propaganda and marketing tools and where possible, correcting what may be an erroneous, incomplete or false declaration of what those photographs represent. In the absence of a rejection, we can only assume an endorsement of the context in which the work is presented.

    It is not enough to say “Well, it’s open to interpretation..” Part of our job as journalists is to provide that interpretation, or at the very least, to make sure that any interpretation is not false. I follow the line that while truth may be malleable, what is false is indisputable.

    • duckrabbit says:

      Top comment Tom. Thank you.

    • Oli Sharpe says:

      I agree with Tom, if you look at Luis Sinco’s ‘Marlboro Marine’ it was first published and seen as the macho image of the marines at war. In reality James Blake Miller the soldier in the photo is a sufferer of PTSD and a broken man. Sinco, with the help of media storm created a multimedia narrative of the truth behind his work. Suddenly the context had changed. Why couldn’t Bieber tell what she believes the story is along side Time’s account, this would clear her of any suggestion that she agrees with Time.

  13. Sojournposse says:

    I’d like to share two works with regards to alternative portrayal of Asian women, that impress us at Sojournposse:

    1) Tom White’s female Korean divers – http://tomwhitephotography.blogspot.com/2010/04/haenyeo.html. Would like to see more, Tom.
    2) Asian Women Photographers Showcase, curated by Yumi Goto. http://www.sojournposse.com/?p=5162. I think it’s the only one of its kind around at the moment.

    I’m sure there are many more. Please, we like to see more empowering images.

  14. Tom White says:

    Wow, thanks Sojournposse people. The Haenyeo are a remarkable group of women, practicing an endangered profession with an incredible history. I only had a few hours with them on my last trip to Korea so this project is in suspended animation until I have time to 1) sort out the scans from that day on my hard drive, 2) take a couple of diving lessons (they wouldn’t let me in the water with them without oxygen – even though they themselves don’t use it!) and 3) find time and funds to return to Korea…

    Oh, and I have to add that the work Yumi does is inspirational and essential…

  15. I’m growing tired of this accusation that somehow Jodi Bieber was complicit with Time Magazine’s headline.
    I can tell you that she was absolutely dismayed about the headline but this is something not in her control.
    So many commenters behave as though she was complicit and I’m so sorry because not coming out and publicly
    decrying something that magazine does—this isn’t the first time TIME MAGAZINE has supported war—does not
    infer compliance.
    I see that you neglected to mention in your comments that a woman’s group in Afghanistan credit’s that photograph
    being on the cover of Time to a huge increase in support of women and more money being donated to fight this very issue
    on behalf of women in Afghanistan….so you are just as guilty as what you accuse Jodi of.
    Secondly, give me break. Go onto any photographers’ website and we all will put scans or copies
    of covers we have on magazines as well as articles inside. This is customary and yes, okay she put the Time Magazine Cover on her website. That does not imply that she is complicit, it only means that it was on the cover. And show me any photographer
    who isn’t proud or grateful for that. Editors don’t call us to get our okay about words they put on a photograph.

    Finally, if you ever met Jodi or knew about the rest of her work on behalf of women, especially in South Africa, you would
    at least have again mentioned this. Her work has long celebrated the TRUE beauty of women and I’m not talking about
    movie actresses or skinny models……I mean real women, many large hips and breasts and butts. This smells like a witch hunt to me. If you want to go after someone, why not go after the editors at TIME MAGAZINE? All this time and energy spent on
    trying to blame a photographer for something she had no control over. Should she have come out publicly and stated that
    she was outraged by the headline….of course she was outraged but she has chosen not to respond to this witch hunt or dignify it.

    To award her the world press photo of the year is also not her doing. It’s the World Press judges and I’m sure there was debate
    about it because I’ve served on that jury several times and believe me, you leave with battle scars. I’m astonished to some degree at the attacks on Jodi—just because she won’t answer or do what some people think she should do. I have to say, there are so many other photographers who do work that could also be questioned in terms of putting women into danger or
    that point out the same things—-and Time could have used any of those pictures as well…is it because Aisha is pretty or what?
    It’s one thing to criticize Time Magazine and to criticize the judges but I think Jodi tried to portray Aisha as a victim of a terrible
    and ancient practice that points to many more horrid things. Is it her fault that Aisha is also a very beautiful woman? There
    were all kinds of exchanges when that cover came out about the “lighting” etc…..there was no lighting. I asked Jodi. That
    was available light. And if you see the frames around that one, you’ll see that she just worked the situation in a very natural
    way. And you can be sure that she offered Time more than one photograph and they would demand it anyway. Why there is so much talk about her and LESS about Time, about the PRACTICE that tortured Aisha and womens’ issues in the Middle East anyway is nonsensical. How about American foreign policy? I don’t hear anyone yelling about that. If people want to shoot arrows, shoot them at TIME, shoot them at the World Press Judges and shoot them at American foreign policy. Some people want Jodi to make a public statement apologizing for something over which she has no control (Time doesn’t call photographers and ask them to approve a headline or even how they their pictures are used), they want her to be outraged….how do you know she isn’t? But why should she answer anyone’s accusations when people come out with both barrels blazing??? This smells, like I said, like a witch hunt and I think it stinks. She is a good person, and her work has focussed on women and women’s issuem all her career. I think there’s something else going on here, some personal vendettas or something. I’M OUTRAGED AT THIS POINT by the constant attacks. Get over it. If any person had asked Jodi in a nice and civil way, you might actually have gotten an answer. I certainly cannot speak for her but I know her, she is very good woman and she doesn’t deserve these attacks.
    ATTACK TIME, ATTACK THE BRUTAL CUSTOM, ATTACK AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY but let’s not shoot the messenger….and I”m not at all sure how many photographers would have the guts to come out publicly and criticize any magazine. Believe me, they would be few and far between. This is all hysteria and when the whole Middle East is exploding, this is not what our discussion should be about. Let’s quit vilifying someone and hanging out to dry in public someone who, at least in my opinion, doesn’t deserve it. If you want to criticize the photograph as the choice by judges, go ahead, that’s fair but the hysteria is ridiculous. Be hysterical about the practice, not the person who showed it to us. Believe me, there are photographers who do far worse things.

    • duckrabbit says:

      HI Maggie,

      I respect you as a photographer but I really don’t think you’re doing Jodie any favors here.

      You say that ‘she was absolutely dismayed about the headline’ and yet you see no contradiction between that and putting it on the front page of her website. Bizarrely it’s you that now seems to be making the case that to Bieber fame is more important than truth.

      You come from a different media world then mine. But honestly in all my years of working for the BBC I cannot think of a single documentary producer who would promote their own work if they thought it had been distorted for political end. One that involves bombing and killing people and making lots of profit. Not one. I can say the same for the photographers I work with (which is why I work with them).

      What you are telling me is that if the New York Times did the same thing to one of your photos and you were ‘absolutely dismayed’, despite that, if there was enough buzz around the photo you would actively showcase it in the context you hate, as the first thing people see when they go to Maggie Steber’s website?

      And if I said to you I think you’re the type of person that probably would Maggie, wouldn’t most people rightly take that as an insult? But you’re arguing that infact it’s not an insult because that would be a normal thing for a photographer to do?

      Sounds a bit daft to me.

      I think its one thing to defend a friend but another thing to try and stop debate by throwing in accusations like this is some kind of ‘witchunt’. To me that kind of accusation is the ‘hysteria’ on view here. If you follow the links at the bottom you’ll see just how uneducated a comment it is.

      You say, ‘If any person had asked Jodi in a nice and civil way, you might actually have gotten an answer. ‘

      She was asked on the BBC WORLD SERVICE (a station I produce work for) and responded that “the way you read the photo and headline just depends on where you are coming from”. A slightly different version then the one you are giving us.

      She also said,

      “Whenever I go out I take responsibility because I know that my work is going to be published. I teach photography as well, and I really try and say to my students that no picture is worth fame or publicity … I try and stick by that.”

      Please Maggie read the post again and the others linked below, nobody said that Jodie was responsible for the headline, but lots of people are dyeing in Afghanistan. How that story is told and re-told is important. How that story is promoted matters. No?

      http://www.duckrabbit.info/2010/06/need-any-persuadeing-that-we-are-not-in-the-age-of-post-photography/

      ‘Interested in hearing a thoughtful and immensely talented photographer? Then go and see Jodie Bieber talk at Host Gallery in London on June 30th. Should be a cracking event.’

      http://www.duckrabbit.info/2010/07/bieber-time-women-afghanistan/

      ‘Very strong set of portraits from Jodi Bieber on Time.com. Very dignified and respectful. Shocking in parts. Enlightening in others.’

      http://www.duckrabbit.info/2010/07/photography-and-dirty-propaganda/

      ‘I feel sorry for Bieber, she’s done a great job and cannot be faulted, but I feel this photo has been misused. Just as guns did not solve the problems of racism in South Africa, they will not solve the problems of women’s rights in Afghanistan.’

  16. Let me try this again:

    First of all, I am publicly apologizing to Benjamin for my use and unclear choice of words in my rant yesterday.
    Let me clarify….when I used the word YOU in my rant……it was NOT aimed at Benjamin. Benjamin has, through duckrabbit, created a venue for us to have these exchanges and discussions and he is not the target of my criticism.
    I have apologized to him in private emails and I do so here again. I am grateful for his hard work in maintaining this site so we might have these dialogues. Ben has remained neutral throughout the discussion…at least until his response to my
    initial posting, which is understandable. Again, Ben, not about you but yes, in reaction to some others. I also want to make it clear that I am not trying to throw cold water on the discussion, the debate, or anyone’s right to free speech, including my own. I just feel like it is a conversation that is going in circles without anything being accomplished, anything significant. It’s like
    preaching to the choir and I don’t see beyond the discussion among photographers, what is accomplished. But I suppose the conversation has to get going before anyone would take any real action beyond commenting.

    Beyond that, briefly, there has been much discussion in some circles since the Time Magazine cover came out.
    Whether she makes a public statement or stand about Time’s use of her photograph is Jodi’s personal and private choice.
    We cannot know the full backstory and that is the one main point I really wanted to make….that I have learned there
    are many sides to a story and that without knowing them all, one cannot comment without risking unwarranted criticism.
    And there has been abundant criticism and speculation.

    I wish that the people who are the most outraged would use that energy and time to WRITE DIRECTLY to the editors of Time Magazine. I think this is putting your money where your mouth is and that the kind of debate stirred by the headline
    should be addressed directly to the editors. My strong reaction yesterday is mainly due to that…..if people feel so strongly, start a movement and take up the cause, whatever you feel that is.

    Thank you and thank you, Ben, for posting this comment.

    Maggie Steber

  17. Sojournposse says:

    Ms. Steber, I admire your thoughts, and I’m sure many have written to TIME. But it’s much more interesting if TIME can comment on duckrabbit. It’s Web 2.0 – the editors go to the audience.

  18. Jenny Lynn Walker says:

    Hi Maggie,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this matter. I am not so clear on the issues as you and am wondering if you might be the person who could answer my direct question on an important issue relating to this as nobody has yet answered it:

    Is it okay to award the top prize for photojournalism to an image when the story it is stating is disputed and in doubt because there are two different versions of the story? And is it okay to circulate that image without telling anyone the alternative story that is either not being shared or being kept quiet?

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duckrabbit is a production company formed by radio producer/journalist Benjamin Chesterton and photographer David White. We specialize in digital storytelling.

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