Censorship of Reportage Festival in Sydney: Works at Reportage Photography Festival in Sydney have been censored after a NSW government agency deemed them ”too distressing” for the general public, including the images of photographers James Nachtwey, Yuri Kozyrev, Daniel Berehulak, Alex Webb, Andrew Quilty, Ed Giles, Conor Ashleigh, Raphaela Rosella, David Smith, Adam Ferguson, Jodie Bieber, the Degree South collective, Jack Picone and David Burnett.
Above are three images courtesy of Conor Ashleigh which were censored.
This series baby in a chapel is a body of work that has grown over the last 4-5 years just as the two daughters have. I think its outrageous that a state government body can censor a series of public projections that are part of Reportage photo festival. My work amongst many others has been described as ‘ugly’ or ‘too distressing’, I personally find these statements absurd. In my instance I question whether they even looked at the work, there isn’t anything distressing about a family navigating parenthood and living in the bush.
Tonight (5/26/13) there will be an indoor screening of the uncensored reportage projections which is something we can thank Stephen Dupont, Ed Giles and the rest of the Reportage team for arranging. In addition to the outrageous censoring of this work, the greatest personal disappointment is the fact that the thousands of people who will be in Sydney’s Darling Harbour over the coming weeks for the Vivid festival will now not have the opportunity to be exposed to the powerful bodies of work that have defined many photographers careers . As we seek new avenues to engage audiences I hope this government censoring doesn’t stand as dark omen of what is to come in Australia. - CA
And from Ed Giles, a photojournalist who has spent the past two years documenting the political upheaval in Egypt:
The NSW State Government, via its tourism division ‘Destination NSW’, is actively and aggressively censoring the photographic work that we planned to show in public on Circular Quay at the Reportage Festival of Documentary Photography, 2013.
Over two thirds of the photographers who submitted work have either been banned from our outdoor projections, or have elected to pull their bodies of work after having their stories heavily clipped. This includes the work of international and Australian multiple award-winning photographers inlcluding James Nachtwey, Yuri Kozyrev, Adam Ferguson, Daniel Berehulak, Andrew Quilty, Alex Webb, Jodi Bieber, Paula Bronstein, the Degree South collective, Jack Picone and myself.
Within the above group of photographers includes winners of each and every major photographic and/or journalism prize on the face of the planet, some, such as Jodi Bieber and James Nachtwey, multiple times over. For example, my edit of 36 pictures from my two years documenting Egypt’s post revolution political scene was reduced to 17 pictures, and I have pulled my work completely from the outdoor show in protest.
As another example, Andrew Quilty’s quite lyrical and beautiful panoramic landscape photographs of the aftermath of disasters in Australia, including the Victoria Bushfires and Cyclone Yasi, have also been black listed completely after being deemed ‘too distressing’. We will be screen all of the work for the Reportage 2013 projections at an indoor venue in the coming days, and possibly elsewhere in Sydney, so stay tuned … this story will not being going away quietly. -EG
Images copyright Conor Ashleigh