Bigotry Or Pragmatism?

November 5th, 2012

One of fotoLibra‘s unique features is the Picture Call sent out to all members, listing the photographs our clients are actively searching for. If you’ve been a member for a while, you know that it would be hard to create a more diverse and random set of image requests. There’s something for everyone, from landscape photographers to people pix.

And because Britain is home to the world’s most internationally-minded book publishers, we have requests to supply images in books produced for every market, every culture. In multicultural Britain we are inured to butchers selling kosher or halal meat; in monocultural societies any deviation from the prescribed pattern is seldom tolerated.

So when a large and well-established publisher comes to us with a big picture call on to which is bolted a few strange (to our British eyes) conditions, we shrug and send it out. We don’t condone the request by doing so; we are agnostic as far as our clients’ requests go (although we will exclude pornography).

One recent request asked that in the images there should be:

  • • no women and men together
  • • no women looking at the camera
  • • no bare arms, legs or chests

for images to be used in a textbook designed for the Middle Eastern market.

This doesn’t trouble me unduly, although personally I do find it sad that there are people who still think like this in the twenty-first century.

But one fotoLibra member found it too much to bear. He wrote to Jacqui Norman, who had sent out the Picture Call:

Hello Jacqui,
I have been thinking about your picture calls and really do not have a polite way of responding to some of them. I am Jewish, Israeli, liberal minded, not bigoted, and strangely professional. I do not understand or want to understand your requests for what are bigoted, probably Moslem countries. I may be the only one who finds them ridiculous but I would appreciate not being part of this stupidity. I do not remember ever refusing work to anyone with such or under such conditions. Having such requests is insulting and I prefer not to play the bigot’s game.

Colour or gender or religion cannot be a part of my metier or behavior. Please refrain from sending me any more such requests. I would not mind at all if you review my request, find it lacking or maybe even agree and publish it on your blog. All the racial insinuations on the list of requests are not a figment of my imagination. After many years in the business I can read between the lines as can so many others.

Jacqui replied:

Thank you for your message and for sharing your thoughts with us. One of our major customers is a very large European educational publisher which supplies text books and learning materials to countries throughout the world. We feel that helping them to produce reference and teaching tools for Middle Eastern students may ultimately improve their understanding of different cultures and peoples in other parts of the globe.
Through our picture calls we seek only to tell photographers what images are being sought at the moment, not to judge or express our own opinions. We regret that you consider a few of these requests insulting or racially inappropriate; they are most definitely not intended to be.

Our member responded:

Dear Jacqui,
I have no intention of educating the world or making anyone amenable to my point of view. I do not “doctor” photographs or “stage” them in order to please the bias of a customer. I have found that loss of credibility is infinitely more important than a few cents in my bank account. Your customer is, I doubt, as naive as you make them out to be. Doctored or staged images will only confirm a biased view of the world to those asking for such and will be found out.

Please exclude me from such requests. People’s bias or their points of view are their own concern. I have no intention or presumption improving my customers’ understanding.

I have no problem in ending whatever relationship I have with your company. I cannot afford to be included and find my credibility to be more important. Please refrain from offering any of my work to any of your customers.

Jacqui answered:

I apologise that our picture call and my subsequent email seem to have given you the wrong impression. Of course we are not asking you or any of our photographers to doctor or stage images, nor would a respected publisher consider using such images in an educational book. At the beginning of the picture call, we simply mentioned things that photographers should avoid when selecting images for submission to this particular project.
We can exclude your images for sale to or for use in the Middle Eastern market if you wish us to do so. If you prefer to cancel your membership of fotoLibra and remove all your images from our archive as a direct result of this, then we should be extremely sorry.

The photographer replied:

Hello Jacqui,
Maybe you did not understand me. I do sell a great deal of my work in the Middle East, even to countries which do not allow me to visit them. But my relationships are not only cordial but very correct. They know that my images are not staged or doctored in any way, even if the subject does not flatter my country. I cannot understand losing this credibility. They have never asked me to enhance or change the truth of the images I send them, knowing full well that would be the end of our relationship. When my images are different to their expectations they always acknowledge and thank me for showing a different point of view, which they do not usually expect.
I would prefer to cancel my membership and please remove all my images from Fotolibra. I have never qualified my work with any sort of exclusion zone and do sell and present my work without and preconditions.

And there it rests. I thought Jacqui expressed the situation well. And before I posted this blog, I showed the text in its entirety to our photographer, to solicit his comments. They are included as the first comment to this blog, posted by me to preserve the member’s anonymity.

I think that a request such as

  • • no women and men together
  • • no women looking at the camera
  • • no bare arms, legs or chests

does not require staging or doctoring in any way, nor does it breach many peoples’ view of human rights. Like most of these requests, it’s just a cultural thing, and seldom has any basis in the scriptures of the adherents.

What do we do? fotoLibra has over 20,000 registered photographers, and this Picture Call has provoked one complaint. We don’t want to lose him, but we can’t forego the possibility of making 300+ picture sales for our members because one person is offended by the terms and conditions in a Picture Call.

I don’t think these conditions are particularly onerous or indeed unacceptably bigoted. I may be wrong. I’m sure there could be some requests where Jacqui would draw the line, but I can’t imagine any valued client ever asking us for such things.

What do you think?


Add your comment


77 Responses to “Bigotry Or Pragmatism?”

  1. Gwyn Headley says:

    [I showed the text of this blog in its entirety to our photographer M, to solicit his comments. This is his response as the first comment to this blog, posted by me to preserve the member’s anonymity.]

    Dear Gwyn,
    Maybe I am being difficult but there you have it. I cannot understand why your customer asks for images from abroad which are available either only in his country, and or in the various ghettos in England or Europe. I would assume you understand that by sending these not “normal” pictures of life in the west, you are definitely not educating the resident culture. You are neither educating them or producing a teaching tool. You may even be creating a totally false and erroneous impression.

    My point is credibility. In these days of digital images, where and when it is so easy to misrepresent reality, it is the only difference that separates true photographers from the herd. We have been duped too many times over the past years by exaggerated effects and outright manipulation of images. What keeps me going is not only the quality of my work but the truth in the images. I totally accept work “created” for editorials or advertising noting that most editorial photography is honest and that which has been manipulated or faked is clearly marked as such. I can refer you to most major magazines which are over careful in choosing their images. Any photographer “found out” is usually never used again. It is similar with what is happening finally with sports personalities that “dope”. The only way for me is credibility and honesty. I cannot afford anything else as I have been in this business for almost 45 years and wish to continue. I have had the honor of working with and assisting many great photojournalists, from Cartier Bresson on his early visits to Israel and Burt Glinn, Marie Cosindas, Archie Lieberman and Annie Leibovitz, to mention a few. For many years I owned the largest Slide processing lab in Israel and worked for all these and more on their assignments in Israel. I processed and usually ended up assisting them in their travels through Israel. All these greats had one wonderful thing in common, “Credibility”. I cannot not imagine any of the photojournalists I know staging or manipulating a story.
    I hope I am clear, and I know that none of the images I have sent you are neither staged or manipulated. “(Oil floats on the water and suffocates the life in it)”
    Yours, M

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Because, M, this is not photojournalism, this is a textbook. Textbooks used to use illustrations, now they use photographs. And to illustrate the point, the images have to be “staged”, as you describe it. The reading of fiction has been described as “a willing suspension of disbelief”, and, similarly, the illustrations in textbooks are merely that — illustrations. You wouldn’t expect a fashion magazine to be filled with images of beautiful girls in stunning gowns who just happened to be walking down the street and who got snapped by a passing photographer, would you? No — fashion shoots are Staged. Great bird photographers like Eric Hosking and Linda Wright do not serendipitously stumble upon their subjects — they are Staged. And if the customer who commissions these images specifies that she doesn’t want men and women together in the photographs, that’s her problem, not ours.

  2. David Williams says:

    M – why do you talk about “staging images”. I have submitted to these picture calls – without “staging anything. Yes, it is frustrating that many of the photos I might have used I couldn’t – but that is about respecting what the people in those countries believe in. It is not what I personally believe, any more than I believe in what you believe, BUT I DO respect everybody’s beliefs – especially when they are different from my own.

    I do not have the length and depth of experience in photography which you do – but have been travelling the World for over 30 years and that has meant I have criss-crossed the paths of almost every religion, colour, person or belief.

    Frankly, with all you experience you should be wake up and be more broad minded and accepting.

    For my part – I would just be ecstatic to sell any image on Fotolibra – and when I do – won’t be fussing over who has bought it!

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Yes David, Jacqui felt that the core of this problem could be M’s use, interpretation and understanding of the word ‘staged’. This was not a word we used in the Picture Call, and although we don’t want ‘stagey’ images, all photographs shot to a brief have to be set up in some form or another — and that could be called ‘staged’. And there is nothing wrong with that.

  3. Jamie Waddell says:

    How petty, it’s a simple request with no hint of bias or bigotry.

    • John Riley says:

      Exactly. It was a request for images of a certain specification, nothing more and nothing less. Nothing to get excited about. It’s no worse than asking for a picture of a kitchen scale but specifying that it should show measurements in grams and not pounds and ounces.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Not petty, it’s a strongly held belief which conflicts with our request. But by issuing the Picture Call without further comment, we must be the pragmatists.

      And people have been prepared to go to gaol for the right to sell vegetables by the pound!

  4. Chris Fagg says:

    The problem is that by adhering to these t&c you are reinforcing the client’s desire to censor what readers (and these may be children, of course) see in the interests of a closed-world agenda. I personally wouldn’t supply to the brief but would rather invite the client to make his own selection from your catalogue: but I’m not running your business, and I know you to be an honourable man. Best wishes Chris

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      That’s our claim to pragmatism. We cannot set ourselves up as censors or arbiters of taste; fotoLibra was conceived from the start as the Open Access Picture Library — everyone could upload anything (except porn!)

      No client will come to us with an utterly repulsive request, and if they did they wouldn’t be a client any longer.

      I can understand what upset M — I personally would rather see a world where everyone could cope with a photograph of a man and a women together — but if their sensibilities are that delicate we need to help and educate them, not reject or ignore them.

  5. Chris Fagg says:

    corrected email address!

  6. Charlotte says:

    I think that it comes across as highly unprofessional that you are publishing letters and opinions such as these on your supposedly professional blog. It feels like you are making an example out of this Gentleman who has expressed his concern at the way the company is going.

    Personally I have found this blog to be one of the least desirable aspects of this agency for some time and has actively discouraged from taking Fotolibra seriously in the past. I’m sure I cannot be the only person that thinks the same.

    But I’m not sure I can put full faith in a company that airs it’s dirty laundry in public and publishes individuals opinions so readily.

    • Gavin says:

      I agree entirely. This could have been a good discussion but the singling out of an individual says something quite negative about fotolibra.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Sorry you feel that way. The Gentleman concerned requested from the start that this issue be raised in the fotoLibra Pro Blog, and he read everything that I wrote before it was posted. So if you feel we’re making an example of him — he doesn’t. We did not single him out — he requested the debate, and we thought it was a valid discussion point.

      I’m sorry you don’t care for the blog, Charlotte. It is not compulsory reading, even though we try our hardest to address a wide range of topics in a thought-provoking way. You may find you agree with some of the posts; but I hope not all.

  7. Claire says:

    I understand why this has made people feel uncomfortable. I also picked up on their particular sexist requests – not so much the bit about men and women not being pictured together (I assume they are taught in separate classes and this is a cultural norm – just as the boys were taken off for cricket and rugby lessons during PE and the girls did netball when I was at school) but the bit about women not looking at the camera. I’m not sure about the rational for this.

    I do however understand that this is what the client has asked for – they are the customer. They haven’t asked for any images were women are demeaned or degraded in anyway – for example shown receiving a lesser grades than a male on an assignment/exam or being bullied, or applying make up instead of listening to a teacher.

    Regardless of my personal feelings on the sliding scale of acceptability, if you find something like the above request unacceptable, just delete the email and get on with your day.

    I’m confused why the topic of staging came up. There was never any question in my mind that these would be staged (with models). It’s not reporting, its a text book. Much easier to stage these images than lurk around colleges hoping to get the correct images by chance.

  8. I submitted a pic for one of these photo calls which I thought met the brief perfectly – apart from one little thing. But I don’t think the pic was even offered to the customer.

    I fear that a workman in the pic, exhibiting about four inches of “bare naked” forearm (between sleeve and work-glove) scuppered my chances!

    I suppose that could have been easily airbrushed out, however. (I’m not that sensitive about my artistic integrity!)

    It’s a funny old world!

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      We send lightboxes to the client of (normally) four examples of each requested image, if we have them.

      We also send a link to the client so she can see all the images that have been submitted, whether they were in the lightbox or not.

      So everything gets seen. Even hairy forearms.

  9. kaido says:

    If a photo buyer wants a set of images, with limitations he has set, I do not see why some people feel offended. It’s the same as someone wants images of Washington and some people would be offended that images taken in Poughkeepsie do not qualify ..

  10. Brian Murray says:

    Many images, in any case, are staged. That’s why people hire models and sets, studios and so on. What’s wrong with staged? I “stage” my landscapes, so as to exclude people and man made objects. And the right light.

    If a photo call went out wanting a photo of a man eating, but it mustn’t be pork as this would cause offense in the intended market, what’s wrong with that? Is it the end of the world? Or is it (a) giving the customer what he/she wants and (b) respecting the customs of others ?

    Would a photo of a Nazi flag make on a Nazi for providing it? Certainly not.

    And surely, by protesting so vigorously and making Fotolibra out to be a villain is every bit as wrong and oppressive as the kind of censorship the plaintiff finds so wrong in the first place.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Thank you Brian! We have had requests for pork-free images in the past, and we dutifully relayed them to our members.

      Did I ever tell you about the spaghetti carbonara our vegan friends served us one night? That was a hard road to climb.

  11. Ian Miller says:

    Who is the bigot begs the question.

  12. Michael Wilson says:

    I am finding it sadder and sadder that in our so called ‘tolerant’ society too many people actively wish to find controversy and ‘intolerance’.
    I see the picture call as being a reasonable request (perhaps I would not have mentioned ‘The Middle Eastern Market’ as this only allowed for too much interpretation)with clear criteria attached to it.
    I am a new boy to the site and hope I will be able to contribute.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Welcome, Michael. We like to think we’re tolerant in the UK, but I seem to remember we rank about 19th in the world. So we have a way to go yet.

  13. Antony Roe says:

    Hello Gwyn, I would suggest the bigot was your Israeli photographer not the other way round. No one was asking him to go against his personal bias or to supply photos he felt inappropriate to his beliefs. There would appear to be a wish on his part to stir trouble where none existed before. As far as I am aware you do not supply photos without approval of the owner of the copyright, so there was no problem before he chose to make one. My regards Tony

  14. Jim Walker says:

    I do not find this request to be bigoted in any way. It is merely a “picture call” looking for a particular set of criteria. It would be on par with a call for photos of dogs, would that be bias and prejudice against all photos of cats? A call for a photo to be used in a text book, is not the same as a what a photojournalist would produce and sell to a news agency. The liberals in this world have become too thin skinned and find prejudice and malice where none was intended to exist. Please keep on finding work for the photographers that are interested in selling in all markets. I have lived all over the world, with two years in Saudi Arabia. I do not judge people for their beliefs, though I do try to understand them and where they originate.

  15. tom collier says:

    Picture libraries are there to make money for themselves and their contributors. Whilst I applaud Fotolibra’s stance on pornography,the rest be it political, social, documentary or pretty flowers is in my book fair game. If we’re going to preach the moral high ground perhaps M should examine Israel’s antics! I’m no fan of doctored images and M seems to have missed the fact that, that was not what was required, as far as staging images to get a sale? Bring it on, who cares, stock is awash with staged images. Seems to me the only person being a bigot is M.

  16. Derek Metson says:

    Where’s the problem?

    What’s all the nonsense about doctoring pictures?

    I’ve been looking through our existing stuff and found what seems to meet the requirements. We are also working through the pics we think we can manage to get in before he deadline – some we’ll ‘stage’ to meet odd requirements like ‘pointing at a tie’. I doubt if anyone would have that shot as a stock image! Others we’ll just get out and take, like fronts of book shops. What’s bigoted about that?

    If any photographer doesn’t want to, or can’t, supply particular pics, there is no obligation. It is still a choice!

    People who are campaigning for legal assisted suicide or euthenasia are not saying it should be compulsory. If that were so, it would be a far more serious matter than choosing not to take a few pictures ‘to order’.

    We’d just like to see more of ours selling.

  17. Charles says:

    The guy is obviously bigoted in his views. But looking at the behaviour of Israel’s neighbours I do have a little sympathy for him.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      I don’t think this is going to be solved in my lifetime. I only recently equated the Philistines of the Bible with the Palestine of today.

  18. Roy Pedersen says:

    I think that it is up to the client what he wants in or out of any photos that he wants to use as is the case in most picture calls.
    No one is forced to take or supply any photos.
    If you don’t want to supply images in a picture call then don’t.Simple as that

  19. Wouldn’t touch these calls with a barge pole! It smacks of religious bigotry and an evil attitude towards women.

  20. David Williams says:

    Don’t “make a mountain out of a molehill”. As another contributor said – nobody has to send their images to any specific picture call – its their choice.

    The point about bare flesh and looking at the camera is only about respect for another culture and set of beliefs.

    They may not be ours but we should respect them – where is the problem.

    Contributors have suitable images or they don’t.

    The debate is good and healthy – thats what a blog is for but lets put the effort into promoting everybodies images and getting sales!

  21. Shaun Denney says:

    I’m glad this has come up, and I sympathise a great deal with M’s position. I don’t want to pander to the cultural sensibilities of any society where men & women are segregated, and women are not allowed to raise their eyes.

    I don’t see that by selecting only images that do not challenge these social mores the client can hope to “ultimately improve [the students’] understanding of different cultures and peoples in other parts of the globe”.

    My own solution is that I will not submit any photos to photocalls that have conditions with which I disagree. I draw my line there, but I understand other people don’t see it as a big deal. I’m also not the one running a business for whom this is a major client.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Thanks for your understanding, Shaun. That’s the attitude I would take. And it is a very big client!

    • Bob Crook says:

      For goodness sake, read the brief, if you can submitt do so, if you can’t don’t. At the end of the day we are here to supply images the best we can and as close to the brief as possible. Don’t forget some of us can’t even get that right.

      • Cliff belton says:

        The job of the supplier is to provide the product the customer specifies. If you don’t like or can’t meet the spec just ignore it.End of story

    • Brian Murray says:

      But what if the photo was required to show how women are supposed to avert their eyes from the camera lens? Or similar.

  22. Mark Harris says:

    I too do not understand how Fotolibra’s tolerance of cultural diversity can be construed as bigotry. There are aspects of Muslim culture that I do not like, but that is true of all cultures I have experienced, including my own (British). There are probably people out there who think that censoring pornography is as repressive as calling for pictures of people without bare chests, but it’s just another point on the scale that has been chosen.
    Vive la différence !
    (I hope that didn’t offend anyone who has ever been invaded by France)

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Thank you Mark. I believe there are only 22 countries in the world that the Brits haven’t invaded … yet. Watch out, Sweden.
      Lots of Brits find The Sun’s Page 3 girls offensive — after all, they’re usually looking directly at the camera!
      And some papers on the Continent publish gruesome images of car crashes before the bodies have been removed. Unthinkable in Britain.

  23. Marie-Claire Lander says:

    I think this gentleman raised some interesting issues, and I am glad he did. I do find the picture call offensive, but I don’t blame fotolibra for answering it. It’s up to the suscriber to make an informed decision according to their value sytem and beliefs.
    I am not sure if I want to encourage bias through textbooks that filter and distort reality through a restricted view of the world, not necessarily staged photos.
    Those children will grow up thinking that men and women don’t mix, and women don’t show any flesh in the western world. Discrimination against women will carry on unchallenged. How sad!

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Yep. It’s sad, even if they contain their bizarre practices and opinions within their own societies. It’s bad when they start exporting them — we’ll be having honour killings in Midsomer Norton next.

  24. Jodi Lawrence says:

    A bigot is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”

    Say it were a picture call for a Jewish publication and they required pictures of young children eating a snack, would he object to them specifying that the child should not be shown eating a bacon sandwich?

    Every religion/culture has it’s own rules, customs & quirks that may appear odd or unacceptable to those of another faith but in order for the people of this world to live side by side in harmony we need to understand and respect each others beliefs whether we like them or not. If he is intolerant of those beliefs because they are different to his own then surely that makes him the bigot that he so strongly denies he is.

  25. Paul VerizzoPaul Verizzo says:

    Much ado about nothing. Everyone is looking for a reason to get their nose our of joint.

    My theory is based on Maslow’s Hieracrchy of Needs. I call it Paul’s Perverse Pyramid of Poop. As we no longer worry about food, shelter, and self-actualization, we start to worry about the inconsequential. “What’s the carbon footprint of that cup of coffee?”

    And to expect PhotoLibre to censor his photo calls to match his vapors is beyond the pale.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Good observation, Paul. Parodied to the extreme by the vapid lifestyle of the American “Valley girls.”

      Did you ever see “Sex In The City 2”? That was the most offensive movie I have ever seen. I watched it deliberately, aware that I’d be offended. And if it offends a fat middle-aged Anglican, imagine what it would do for some testosterone-crazed Muslim youth?

      BTW it’s fotoLibra.

  26. Ade Davis says:

    Wow. What discussion. What controversy. Maybe it’s a positive for Britain? We have come to accept all people and all beliefs that we are starting to look for things to pick out in cultures that may not be completely relevant to us personally. Maybe I’m naive?

    By the way. I hold my hands up. You asked for pictures of food recently and I waited ages for some to come along but eventually I reached into the cupboard for a tin of beans. I staged that photo, I admit

  27. Shack says:

    You can not take any request for photos personally. If the request does not meet your high standards or believes then you just hit the “DELETE” button. That is what it is there for. Problem Solved! You move on to the next request.

  28. P.H.Chan says:

    It’s very ironic/hypocritical that the member claims to be liberal,not bigoted then goes on to attack the values of a different culture. I thought a lot of stock photography was staged to show people doing a particular job, etc , then getting the model to sign a consent form.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      He protests he is not bigoted. I think you can be offended by something yet not bigoted against them. Look at my comments about Sex In The City above. I have nothing against the actors, producers and directors; I just find them offensive.

  29. One of the reasons we are in this industry is, hard as may sometimes seem, to make money. To this end, one cannot afford to be a prima donna – or to hide ones head in the sand. Our job is to shoot pics. If we don’t agree with the political or religious or political outlook of the potential buyer, so what? As long as his money is good, I’m quite happy to take it off him (while thinking to myself “he should only know …”)

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Everyone has his price. And it goes both sides of zero. You’d have to pay a devout Muslim quite a lot to get him to take a sip of 1990 Romanée Conti. You wouldn’t have to pay me much at all. Oh, OK, I’ll give you a fiver.

  30. Len Sparrow says:

    Much Ado About Nothing!

    I have no problem with adhering to the various briefs even if I do not always agree with them. Like another of your photographers I have been lucky enough to travel the world visiting over 60 countries in the past 60 years taking photographs and experiencing different cultures,yes even Australian! I therefore had to smile at the request for Bondi Beach! Without bare arms or legs? Not possible to stage that one, even at midnight!

    Keep up the good work. You ask and I will try and supply!


  31. Martin says:

    Balderdash! We all have a choice. Ethics… ranges differently throughout the world. Worry more on miscreance within banking.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Absolutely. We could almost be living in a free country ourselves.

    • Paulo says:

      I think each member of Fotolibra has a choice to submit pictures to call or not. Costumers from different parts of the world will have different briefs/requests. Think the question of staging a picture is not a issue (once that the publication is editorial and not pure documentary or journalism). Regarding cultural,religious and political beliefs ( in this case and place),is better not to discuss to much about it. Each person has his own personal view and values.. And the western world/society is also also highly biased in the way that presents reality and “creates” expectations… Personally ,for example, I don’t think Israel society is an example of a democratic country ( just remembering how press,radios,and citizens there have been target for showing different views…). A attitude in fact not very different from some muslim countries…

  32. Mike Mumford says:

    Money is the route of all evil. We live in an ever dog eats dog world, take women they say “behind ever good man there is a good woman”. Speaking as a man have you seen the film “Mrs Doubtfire” 1993 Directed by Chris Columbus. With Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein. After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female …This film is a masterpiece an insight showing how our perceptions have to change.
    Women are exploited from cradle to grave. It is a man’s world, each take a delight in putting down their womenfolk, it is in their DNA. Like religion men and women’s free spirit have their minds bent to the will of the narrow minded. True images with free expression must educate societies to help them along life’s way. To be educated is the enlightenment we all have to learn.

  33. Judith Martin says:

    This has certainly generated some comment. I saw the Picture Call and thought ‘hmmm’. On the whole I’m with M.
    IKEA got into trouble recently for doctoring a catalogue photo that showed a young boy sitting (presumably at some piece of flat-pack furniture) studying, with a woman leaning over him in a motherly way. For the middle eastern market the woman was removed. I find this absurd and shameful.
    A mere five or so years ago Ford also got into trouble, for a photo which – astonishingly – removed the black employees from the line-up of happy workers. Ford had to apologise and reinstate the black workers.
    Very few people now would think it was appropriate, legal, or even desirable to remove images of black people. Society advances, occasionally at least, but only because great numbers of people take brave and principled stands against bigotry and oppression.
    As various commentators have said, no-one is obliged to answer the Picture Call. But the really principled position might have been not to send it out.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      An interesting position from a commercial point of view, Judith. How do you think our photographers would feel if we denied them the chance of making money as a result of our righteousness?

      • Judith Martin says:

        They would have to take their business elsewhere, if they found out and objected, which might be a blow to you. Ethical investment is hardly a new thing.
        It would be interesting to know how many of your photographers have supplied material on this. Would it in fact be a major concern if you hadn’t put out that Call?

  34. Nicholl Williams says:

    Religion is just a cultural expression. As such it is offensive to some people when others have a different view.
    We can look at our culture from an outsider’s perspective and get a shock at some of our habits.
    For example on Saturday evening many of our young people go out in very structured dress code. Short skirts and bizarre shoes.
    When we look at the strange views of much of the American electorate it is depressing to see structured stupidity.
    We have only one planet and need to conserve this for all inhabitants of our Globe.

  35. I applaud fotoLibra for promulgating this Picture Call.

    I don’t expect fotoLibra to be an arbiter on my behalf between “our” cultural norms and any other of the world’s cultural norms. Any accusation of ‘bigotry’ in the context of these Picture Calls or of ‘manipulated images’ is in my opinion skewed, mistaken and bewildering!

    As a lad who grew up in the once genuinely bigotted atmosphere of 1950’s Northern Ireland, I now relish diversity and open-mindedness, and I deplore the parochial small-mindedness that fuelled that awful “Ulster” crisis … and I got a whiff of the latter in some of the responses above.

    The potential (initial) use of these photographs will be in education. It would be a privilege to have one of my photographs chosen to help broaden the mind of any child or adult, but especially so if that audience was in the Middle East. I have no reason to suspect that any (large) educational publisher would use my photograph to mis-represent “the world”, and I fully accept that my photograph might only ever serve as one tiny tiny step towards a greater enlightenment that is bound to emerge from ANY wider view of alternative cultures.

    Once again I wonder why that oh-so logical commandment was omitted from so many of the world’s religions – “thou shalt not hurry to take offence”!

  36. David says:

    Hi Jacqui,in a world of different religeons & cultures we all have to be a little tolerant ,so if an image does not suit dont do it,stick to what appeals to you,thats all I say,regards Dave.