Thesis 5: A New Narrative
Read all 7 theses on international photojournalism here.
Although there are more photojournalists than ever operating across the globe today, images published in media outlets continue to pander to stereotypes, providing a monotonous narrative of suffering and destruction to the exclusion of all else.
As prior World Press Photo jury secretary Stephen Mayes once noted, “The afflicted, the poor, the injured are photographed way in excess of their actual numbers… 90 percent of the pictures is about 10 percent of the world…From the infinity of human experience, the list of subjects covered by WPP entrants would fill a single page, and could be reduced even to three lines: the disposed and the powerless; the exotic; anywhere but home.”
Take Nigeria, for example, which is usually only featured through the lens of corruption or Boko Haram, the terror group operating in the north. There is a lot more to Nigeria, though.
With the project, “Not only Boko Haram,” I decided to feature a group of nuns running a school for 1,000 students of all ages. The school includes room and board for 100 girls too poor to be able to afford school otherwise, a clinic for the poor and a community service and home visitation program in what was once Biafra. I chose this school to show a side of Nigeria that is often ignored by international media: joyous, despite poverty; stubborn in the face of hardship; and embracing life through sports, music and dance.
Delizia Flaccavento works as a freelance photographer, mainly focusing on social topics. She teaches documentary photography at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul and has collaborated with various NGOs.
The n-ost Media Conference Translating Worlds yielded five essays on the challenges foreign correspondents are facing today, as well as a series of seven photo-theses concerning modern photojournalistic practice. The complete works are available here: