Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.
Has National Geographic Exploited the Unprotected? My Thoughts on the Afghan Girl Controversy
No one has asked me to make this video.
This video is not sponsored, nor is monetized.
I am making it because it is something I feel passionate about & all things expressed here are my own opinions. I feel tremendous empathy for children who suffer.
I am adding links to the resources to many of the points I have made, but these are not comprehensive, do your own research with an open mind and heart and come to your own conclusions. You are welcome to disagree and I can respect your opinions. If you feel passionate about it, make a video and publish it, even if you disagree!
TL/DW : Do not mess with children!
Especially if they do not have the protections we do! Even more so when they are marginalized, orphans, refugees or otherwise!
For over 100 years National Geographic has been the go to source for stories and images about the cultures of our world. We likely agree it has been spectacular in regards to providing the best images and stories to offer in this regard, and in the vast majority of cases, there are no issues. In the mid-80's it's circulation was about 12 million, and one of the biggest stages at the time for images.
Steve McCurry, one of the most famous and talented photojournalists of our time, took the portrait of "Afghan Girl", most of us have seen.
There's just one problem... she didn't want her picture taken and attempted to cover her face. Through a translator, McCurry asked her teacher to tell her to do so for the sake of the greater good, bringing awareness to their situation. She has gone on record saying she was angry at the time. A few posed shots were taken some with and at least one without the face covering, after which she ran off.
McCurry has stated he knew it was a special portrait, yet he didn't get her name. That image went through a team of editors who decided to put it on the cover.
The question I have....if they didn't have a name, how could they have legal permission? How could the image go through at least 3 different people, if they didn't? How many other times has this happened?
If no legal permission was given, was this young woman's right to privacy violated?
As a society, we need to get away from "poverty porn", or commercializing those in compromised living conditions or those suffering, especially if they do not want their image used on a big stage.
Time Article About Steve No Longer Being a Photojournalist, & Editor Sarah Been going on record about being proud of the image, yet the importance of the distinction between Photojournalism vs Other genres: http://time.com/4351725/steve-mccurry-not-photojournalist/
Steve States He Got Permission, but that both parents were dead: https://bit.ly/2YaGNyL
Steve Talks about the importance of permission & respecting privacy: https://youtu.be/iZktvSKW3Mw?t=441
Bob Gilka Had The Final Say: https://wapo.st/2HucEpl
Auction Prices For McCurry's Work: https://bit.ly/2HG5KfT
Nat Geo Sells Auctions Image for $147,000: https://wapo.st/2HJlfn5
Nat Geo Admits to Racism: https://on.natgeo.com/2tCCJwd
Steve Speaks Out About her arrest & violation of human rights: https://bit.ly/2FjEwbV
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