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STEP 7: Bring an honest perspective

Make or select visual material taking into account people’s privacy and integrity.

  • Talk to your supervisor or key person at your internship school or contact the (VVOB) supervisor within your internship country for assessment.
  • First, ask permission to adults and to children before you photograph or film them.
  • Tell them what the purpose is, and what you want to use the footage for.
  • Always ask yourself if you would appreciate being displayed in such a way.
  • If people are unable to object to being photographed or filmed, you should not do it.
  • Every country has its own legislation. First, find out what the official legal guidelines are for taking photographs at your place of destination.
  • Also, verify what this specifically means for photographing children
  • If you have not got specific permission from the parents and the school personnel for photographing children, then you should make sure that the children are not photographed in a way that makes them easily recognisable.

Avoid stereotypical and negative images.

  • Specific: Try not to show ‘THE children in Africa’ or ‘going to school in India’. Show unique, personal stories. Dynamic, close.
  • Significant: The fact that children are learning enthusiastically is more important than the school building. The fact that there is enough water for the cattle so that they give milk, is more interesting than the water well.
  • Hopeful: Negative situations are part of reality but sad images only evoke sympathy … Do not ignore the seriousness of the situation but focus on the power and dignity of people. Show bright spots and positive changes.
  • Up-to-date: Make realistic, contemporary images: so also urban development, use of computers at school, television at home … apart from the traditional villages and habits.
  • Connecting: Respect the differences but do not emphasize being different. People here recognize themselves more easily in common needs, requirements, feelings, wishes and rights. 

Do the cliché check:

  • Before you leave make a list of all the stereotypes you have about the country and the people you go to.
  • Keep this list in mind when making photographs, videos … and do the opposite.
  • Take an extra critical look when making your final image selection.