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Four Conversations with Canadian Communications Officers
Dominique Marshall

As the production, content and display of humanitarian images faced the requirements of digital media, humanitarian organizations struggled to keep equitable visual practices. Media specialists reflect on past and current uses of images in four Canadian agencies: the Canadian Red Cross, the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, the World University Service of Canada and IMPACT. Historically, the risk to reproduce the global inequalities they seek to remedy has compelled photographers, filmmakers and publicists in these agencies to develop codes of visual practice. In these conversations, they have shared the insights gained in transforming their work to accompany the rise of new digital technologies and social media. From one agency to the other, the lines of concern and of innovation converge. On the technical side, the officers speak of the advantage of telling personal stories, and of using short videos and infographics. On the organizational side, they have updated ways to develop skills in media production and visual literacy among workers, volunteers, partners and recipients, at all levels of their activity. These interviews further reveal that Communications Officers share with historians a wish to collect, preserve and tell past histories that acknowledge the role of all actors in the humanitarian sphere, as well as an immediate need to manage the abundance of visual documents with respect and method. To face these challenges, the five interviewees rely on democratic traditions of image-making: the trusted relationships, both with the Canadian public and with local peoples abroad, which have always informed the production and the content of visual assets. For this reason, humanitarian publicists might be in a privileged position to intervene in larger and urgent debates over the moral economy of the circulation of digital images in a globalized public space.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Jeffrey Flynn

, which would become an ‘icon of Third World suffering’, were the ‘watershed that turned the conflict into a global media event’ (9). It was neither the first nor the last time such images were used to draw Western attention to distant suffering. Indeed, the path-breaking collection Humanitarian Photography – which includes an essay by Heerten on Biafra – takes a longer view by gathering historians to analyse the visual culture of humanitarianism from the late nineteenth century to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Lewis Hine’s Photographs of Refugees for the American Red Cross, 1918–20
Sonya de Laat

: 121–2). 17 Historian Peter Gatrell ( 2005 ) notes that ‘refugeedom’, a term he translated from a popular Russian word, has been used to refer to the conditions and experience of being a refugee since 1915. 18 In relation to scholarship on humanitarian photography, the 1984 Ethiopian famine is often cited as the originator of the trope of the starving child. Suzanne Franks (2013) recognizes that the 1967–70 famine in Biafra just as easily can be, and is, seen by many – particularly those for whom those images form part of their living memory – as

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
The Politics of Infectious Disease
Duncan McLean and Michaël Neuman

contribution Jeffrey Flynn reviews two books, Humanitarian Photography: A History (2015) and The Biafran War and Postcolonial Humanitarianism: Spectacles of Suffering (2017). While his commentary on ethical questions over the use of images is particularly salient today, almost as striking are his observations on how the challenge of framing human suffering ‘has been debated ever since the pain of others could be captured on camera’. The pitfalls of humanitarian imagery are thus noted, as are

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Valérie Gorin and Sönke Kunkel

critical histories of visual humanitarian communication reminds us, the art of picture-making is not a new imperative, but a long established historical practice of humanitarian organizations. Recent edited volumes on the history of humanitarian photography ( Fehrenbach and Rodogno, 2015 ) and the relation between the media and humanitarian action ( Paulmann, 2019 ) have pointed to the long historical trajectories of visual communication activities and drawn attention to the historical

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Mel Bunce

), ‘ Global Humanitarianism and the Changing Aid-Media Field: Everyone Was Dying for Footage ’, Journalism Studies 8 : 6 , 862 – 78 . Curtis , H. ( 2015 ), ‘ Picturing Pain Evangelicals and the Politics of Pictorial Humanitarianism in an Imperial Age ’, in Fehrenbach , H. and Rodongo , D. (eds), Humanitarian Photography: A History ( Cambridge : Cambridge University Press ), pp. 22 – 46 . Davies , N. ( 2008 ), Flat Earth News ( London : Vintage Books

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe

–1998 ( Dublin : A. & A. Farmar ). Fehrenbach , H. and Rodogno , D. ( 2016 ), ‘“A Horrific Photo of a Drowned Syrian Child”: Humanitarian Photography and NGO Media Strategies in Historical Perspective’ , International Review of the Red Cross , 97 : 900 , 1121

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Visual Advocacy in the Early Decades of Humanitarian Cinema
Valérie Gorin

. (eds), Humanitarian Photography: A History ( Cambridge : Cambridge University Press ), pp. 140 – 64 . Record of the Save the Children Fund ( 1921a ), ‘ Cheap Publicity ’ ( 15 November ), 67 – 9 . Record of the Save the Children Fund ( 1921b ), ‘ The Daily Express and the Save the Children Fund ’ ( 1 December ), 83 – 4 . Record of the Save the Children Fund ( 1922a ), ‘ Eyes … but Not See ’ ( 15 January ), 135 – 6 . Record of the Save the Children Fund ( 1922b ), ‘ Seeing is Believing ’ ( 1

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Michael Lawrence and Rachel Tavernor

), The Routledge Companion to Humanitarian Action ( Abingdon and New York : Routledge , 2015 ), pp. 254 – 66 ; and H. Fehrenbach and D. Rodogno (eds), Humanitarian Photography: A History ( New York : Cambridge University Press , 2015 ). For anthologies that focus on contemporary (twenty-first century) humanitarian media, practices and challenges, see S. Cottle and G. Cooper (eds

in Global humanitarianism and media culture