Human rights practice and visual violations

Authored by: Ruthie Ginsburg

The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138845770
eBook ISBN: 9781315727998
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter focuses on ethical concerns based on a close examination of an NGO’s photographic documentation (Physicians for Human Rights, Israel). Whereas the common objections to photographs of human rights abuse are concerned with the exploitation of victimhood, I claim that we should not evaluate this kind of photography solely by the image product. Through a description of the organization’s transgression of conventional socio-spatial delimitations in its use of photographs to expose the medical treatment to the public, I argue its visual practice is an instrument of protest that constitutes a political civil act.

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