A follow-up previously posted Say No to Sexual Harassment in Photography.
Promotion of photography in Asia comes hand in hand with protection of the environment in which photographers, participants and stakeholders work in to produce such photography. One simply cannot advocate one and be blind to the other. It would be hypocritical of us, for lack of a better word.
To recognise and award good work and promising photographers in the region is to also recognise, and importantly address, the conditions and challenges of the photographers and people that produce and support the work, especially the young and emerging.
Recent events and allegations point to one specific, repeated and regional, instance of predatory sexual harassment. There are many others involving women photographers or writers in extremely vulnerable positions working with fixers, subjects, editors, colleagues and the like, and in countries all over Asia. Yes, harassment happens to men too, but one can safely assume that the vulnerability of women far exceed that of men.
While some may not necessarily agree with the methods to which recent allegations have been dialogued publicly, the situation points to the lack of support framework in the region for such issues to be handled openly and responsibly with and by the community.
I would like to offer a suggestion to the community for consideration:
The setting up of a first-line Regional Support Group and Watchdog for Photographers comprised and fronted by reputable Photography figureheads and stakeholders in each country, from South to Southeast Asia, supported by respective Civil Organisations, like AWARE in Singapore for example which has experience and expertise concerning legal and victim counsel.
The Regional Support Group would:
- Provide awareness on harassment issues and guidelines on best practices.
- Offer watchdog report and safehouse support to any potential victims with grievances.
- Act as a bridge to Civil Organisations with expertise in legal and victim counsel and support.
- Act as a preventative deterrent by default of it’s existence.