Why censoring photos of the press is wrong

When Destination NSW censored an outdoor photographic exhibition that was meant to be part of the vivid Sydney, they offended many more than the photographers who risked their lives to take these “distressing” photos.

They offend anyone who has a moral sense and is willing to confront uncomfortable truths such as wars that we have helped to create, natural disasters that we must endure, or poverty in our own backyard.

, a division of Destination NSW and the presenter of Vivid Sydney, has requested that some images intended to be projected at night in public as part of ‘s Reportage Photography Festival, be removed from outdoor exhibitions and only displayed at an indoor show.

Sandra Chipchase, CEO of Destination NSW, was cited as saying. “We don’t want any violence, dead bodies or anything else that might upset people.” “In that public domain, it’s all about engagement and entertainment.”

The MSF clinic at Godoma in Sierra Leone, 2007. Francesco Zizola

Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves, if Chipchase’s concern is the delicate eyeballs of children, how many six-year olds wander around Circular Quay in the evening anyway? I’m not sure if those images will cause trauma to many children. Last week, we saw a man in London holding a hatchet and with bloody hands.

Does Vivid Festival just have light, colour, bling, Disneyland and pretty lighting on a wall or is it more? Or does it involve ideas and the challenge they present?

Reportage is the representation of history and a narrative of our times. Many photographers took huge risks to capture that history.

A protest in Iraq. Why should images of the conflict be censored, given Australian involvement? Adam Ferguson

The censorship of images from wars that we started is what I find most reprehensible. We have a duty to watch this war. We went into Afghanistan and Iraq with our allies. Morally, it is wrong to join an invasion without seeing the images. We must see what we’ve done.

Images have a lot of power in the world. iconic photos of Vietnam stopped the war.

Not only images of war, but also poverty, political conflict and natural disasters, as well as pregnancy, have been removed from public display.

Are images of pregnant women so “confronting” that they require censorship? Rapheala Rosella

I can see how Vivid wants to show Sydney in a joyful, wonderful light, bringing some light into the dark winter days. They should try to add some reality by saying, “Look at this side of our world too.”

While some of these aspects may be uncomfortable to middle-class Australians, we must also address them.

Queensland Floods. Andrew Quilty / Oculi

It is absurd to use a photograph of a natural catastrophe. We see a one-sided view of the world. All the good, and none of it. Australia under the dome. We live in a remote part of the globe and are now trying to isolate us even more from reality.

Even though some artists were removed due to the way it was handled, the show will still go on. It is a shame that the entire show won’t be viewed by those who have a responsibility to see it.

Images are the driving force behind our world, and their representation is crucial. The photography freezes time and history, and we can relive that moment again and again.

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