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The people behind your pictures - telling complete stories | The power of human stories conference | 28 February 2019


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Tamsin Maunder, head of brand and creative and Jess Crombie, humanitarian communications consultant

Visit the CharityComms website to view slides from past events, see what events we have coming up and to check out what else we do:

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The people behind your pictures - telling complete stories | The power of human stories conference | 28 February 2019

  1. 1. The people behind your pictures- telling complete stories Jess Crombie, Content & Stories Consultant Tamsin Maunder, Head of Brand and Creative, WaterAid
  2. 2. Jess Crombie and Siobhan Warrington @humanisingphoto @oraltestimonyworks
  3. 3. Research Questions What motivated people to agree to Save the Children filming or photographing themselves or their children? How did they experience and perceive the image-making process? How did they feel about their portrayal in the resulting Save the Children communications?
  4. 4. Primary data collection took place in several sites across four countries between November 2014 and July 2015: • UK (East Anglia, London, Kent, Wales and Yorkshire) • Jordan (Amman and Zaatari Refugee Camp) • Bangladesh (Dhaka and Habiganj) • Niger (Niamey, Zinder and Tessaoua)
  5. 5. 202 Research Participants: 53 Contributors 130 Non-contributors; 19 Staff members Research participants: relationship with Save the Children Contributor Non-contributor Staff member Research participants: age and gender Women Men Girls Boys
  6. 6. Motivations
  7. 7. A desire to raise awareness of an issue and help others A desire to have a voice and be heard by others A hope for assistance, and for some, desperation to seek help for their child An existing relationship with Save the Children Motivations
  8. 8. “My aim for us, having our pictures taken, was to make people more aware and to help families like mine…no one knows what it’s like unless you’re in that person’s shoes. And the thing is, I didn’t look like I was struggling, but I was. [ I said] ‘I'd love to give something back because of what you gave me, because it was a life-changing thing at the time.’ So yes, we were more than happy to do our share.” Mary, adult female contributor, UK “The photographs of our gardens were meant as a message to the world. Syrians deserve to live, they are humans and capable of creating beautiful things, even though everything is destroyed around them. The living conditions here in Zaatari camp are harsh and the weather is bitter, yet we have created something beautiful for the world.” Mohamad, adult male contributor, Jordan
  9. 9. Process
  10. 10. • Most contributors were satisfied with the image-making process • Use of consent forms was universal, but overseas contributors didn’t fully understand the purpose of image making • Feedback and follow-up were valued by all, but only standard practice in the UK • Child research participants felt strongly about image making and consent Process
  11. 11. “…they came to my house. I sat with the photographer, we spent the day together, and we had lots of fun. Yusuf, 17 year-old male contributor, Jordan “If someone wants to take my photo, he must ask me, then he can take it, but if he doesn’t ask me, then we may fight…if he asks me plainly then it’s ok, I will agree. But don’t go and put me all over town.” Focus group with boys (8 - 15), Niger “We were in such a poor condition, we thought if they took pictures it may be for our betterment…we had this hope we may get help. “We had no idea why they took the photos, what did we know? We thought that as we are in a helpless state, it’ll be helpful for us.” Aklima and Sanchita, adult female contributors, Bangladesh
  12. 12. Portrayal
  13. 13. • Contributors were largely satisfied with their portrayal • Some contributors (and non-contributors) shared concerns about the consequences • Research participants understood the need for the use of images of suffering to support fundraising • Research participants expressed preferences for balance in portrayal • Research participants preferred content in which contributors speak for themselves Portrayal
  14. 14. “These children with problems should be shown…since we’re truly with problems now, [that suffering] should be shown so that those who can help will help.” Focus group with women, Niger “The boy (featured in the TV advert) is sick and people should help him. People have heard about him, now they can help him so that he can be healthy. The boy is sick and he’s going to die. People should quickly bring their donations.” Focus groups with boys, Niger “Happiness doesn’t move people.” Focus group with older children, Jordan
  15. 15. “Ouaka a bakin mey ita, tahi dadi – A song is nicer from its owner’s mouth.” Hausa proverb shared by several research participants, Niger “For me, it’s the film ‘Djamila’s Story’ [that is my favourite] because she is speaking by herself, and although she’s suffering, she’s also part of the solution for it. That means she’s not a dependent anymore, but a provider.” Focus group with men, Niger “I want to take the photos, not be an object.” “We want to show people the truth and how we’re living…the world needs to see pictures taken by us.” Focus group with older children, Jordan
  16. 16. Recommendations 1. Invest in creative and collaborative approaches to image-making 2. Uphold contributors’ rights and fulfil the duty of care 3. Informed consent to be understood as an essential multi-staged process with clear procedures in place 4. Sensitive and effective communication before, during and after image- gathering (resources, translators, returning photographs etc) 5. Ensure that human dignity is upheld in the image-making process, not just in the image itself
  17. 17. Since the research… • Save the Children – revised image guidelines • Save the Children UK – informed consent app • Tested new types of projects on donors to see how they land • Founded the working group of INGOs called ‘The People in the Pictures’ working on revising Code of Conduct and sharing best practise across the sector • Research being taught in several universities
  18. 18. “I like this picture because you could see children playing.They have a free mind” “I don’t like this picture,I mean look at these children running around aimlessly as if they have no one, no clothes” “My least favourite because she is an adult female who reached womanhood and she doesn't have her own husband or compound” “I like this photo, because she is well covered and with decent dressing covering all her body. She is also beautiful and nice looking”
  19. 19. Page headingEngaging people To create a connection we need people to feel, think & do
  20. 20. “Stories are a communal currency of humanity." Tahir Shah, in Arabian Nights
  21. 21. "Photography is not only about clicking the camera but it is to capture the emotions and the feelings." WaterAid partner, Kakesh Shahi, following a photography workshop
  22. 22. Section heading Section heading Trust and transparency It’s getting serious out there In their world Keep it real
  23. 23. Trust and transparency
  24. 24. In their world
  25. 25. Section heading It’s getting serious out there
  26. 26. Keep it real
  27. 27. Twelve young people aged 14–18 living in Zaatari refugee camp were given cameras and training with Magnum photographer Michael Christopher Brown, enabling them to tell their stories through their own eyes @insidezataari (Photo: Khaled/Save the Children) “The world needs to see pictures taken by us.”
  28. 28. 26 April 2016 Amend presentation name in Footer and Apply to All 50
  29. 29. Top tips 1. Contributors are your partners, if you ask them for their opinions and explain why you are gathering their testimony your stories will be more powerful 2. Tell stories across the breadth of your communications channels that show not just the ‘need’ and the ‘solution’ but also the humanity 3. Stories are your currency. So make them count
  30. 30. Untapped
  31. 31. The water effect
  32. 32. Talk like a real person People relate to people. If you met this person face to face, how would you talk to them? WaterAid/JamesKiyimba
  33. 33. WaterAid/NyaniQuarmyne/Panos Use your heart as well as your head Go with the flow and read the emotions – as in a normal conversation.
  34. 34. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes Our imperfections are what make us human – we should be open about our mistakes but make it clear that it matters to us to get things right WaterAid/JamesKiyimba
  35. 35. The power of human stories: how to be an authentic storyteller 28 February 2019 London #CharityStories
  36. 36. Visit the CharityComms website to view slides from past events, see what events we have coming up and to check out what else we do: