One of the world’s most reputed photo agencies, Magnum Photos has found itself mired in a controversy in the wake of allegations that it made available photographs showing sexual exploitation of minors.
As per a report in The Guardian, the agency is set to examine the content of its archive of more than one million images. “Recently, we have been alerted to historical material in our archive that is problematic in terms of imagery, captioning or keywording and we are taking this extremely seriously,” Olivia Arthur, the president of Magnum, said in a statement, reported The Guardian.
Two days ago, the website of Magnum Photos had gone down temporarily. “We sincerely apologise that the Magnum Pro website is temporarily down. We are doing some essential upgrade work over the weekend and hope to have it back on Monday. Thank you for supporting us.”
We sincerely apologise that the Magnum Pro website is temporarily down. We are doing some essential upgrade work over the weekend and hope to have it back on Monday. Thank you for supporting us.
— Magnum Photos (@MagnumPhotos) August 14, 2020
An agency spokesman was quoted as saying in the report: “Like many in the photographic industry, we are re-examining our past archives as we are aware there is a material that may be inappropriate. Magnum has accumulated almost 1 million images over its 73-year history and we are committed to making this a comprehensive process.”
Apparently, the presence of some images and the way they had been labelled put the agency in a tight spot.
The controversy erupted when articles on the Fstoppers photography website raised the issue. Soon, voices on social media gained traction, accusing Magnum of promoting child abuse.
Critics recently have pointed out a bunch of images by US photographer David Alan Harvey from his time documenting sex workers in Bangkok in 1989. It was also alleged that many of the photographs in question were tagged in an archive under the category “teenage girl – 13 to 18 years”.
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