When duckrabbit first published a post pointing out that Ron Haviv, a founding member and owner of VII photo, was working on advertising campaigns for the arms industry he issued a statement in which he wrote:

‘VII is not associated in any way with the images in question…I’ve established that all the images on my commercial campaign section mistakenly carried the copyright Ron Haviv-VII as the result of an auto captioning error. I draw a strict line between my photojournalism and commercial campaigns’

This is the photo taken by Haviv, and sold to Lockheed Martin to advertise bombs, that he claims is not in any way associated with VII, a statement which VII supports:


Perhaps they can both explain then why the photo below was first published in 2002 as the opening shot in a book for sale on the VII website about the Afghanistan war with the following copyright notice (C)Ron Haviv-VII.  Just another auto captioning error?



  • Sure there’s a very logical reason to all this- just like when Mitt Romney’s US Presidential Campaign cleared the air by announcing that he couldn’t have done what he had previously said he had done because “he had retroactively retired.”

    Captioning error, space/time continuum rift… at the very least- let’s not rush to conclusion solely on the facts.

  • Jon Higgings

    Considering the fact that VII doesn’t handle commercials sales (they just take care of editorial sales), isn’t it entirely possible that VII didn’t know Haviv was selling this image to LM?

    • Hi Jon,

      thanks for your comment.

      That theory would be fine except Ron Haviv is VII. He set up and part owns the company.

      I guess the point is though the Haviv put out a statement saying that the photo has no relation to VII, but that’s not true because it has been published on several occasions copyrighted to them.

  • Mark Hull

    Aren’t you bored of this topic yet????????????

    • Yeah its really of no interest Mark when a photographer puts out a false statement in response to an article read by tens of thousands of people.

  • In all seriousness, it’s a shame Mr. Haviv didn’t come clean from the get go, that VII didn’t call him on such behavior, and that they failed to take action to prevent such shameful practices from occurring in the future.

    Everyone put saving face ahead of what was so blatantly, obviously manifest- a photographer lauded for his artistic, humanitarian achievements secretly profited from those who help create the very tragedies he documents. Yes, we all live lives of compromise, none of us escape this mortal coil unsoiled. But when blessed with the gift of choice, the privilege and power to set the example and lead- how do you explain your failure to those who have no choice at all, let alone your audience?

    Round two, and the silence is deafening…

  • Loui

    I think Haviv selling pix to Lockheed Martin is a reflection of the hipocresy of lots of “bare witness photojournos”. But I think the frames compared are not exactly the same (check the smoke, clouds and perspective). So, in that case, at least he didn’t lie.

    • Hi Loui,

      the image is the same (I think) but the smoke and clouds have been added after by the agency.

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We specialize in digital storytelling.

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