Tom Stoddart Shoots ‘Healthcare in Danger’

Behind The Scenes With Tom Stoddart; Shooting A Campaign For The International Committee of the Red Cross And Red Crescent (ICRC)

A fascinating behind the scenes shoot showing multi award winning photojournalist Tom Stoddart shooting the “Healthcare In Danger” campaign for the ICRC, using a Leica S2 medium format digital camera. I really like this campaign as the studio shots are like I have never seen  before; they have a gritty realism to them which immediately puts the viewer within the conflict zone feel and communicates the message.

The current campaign was shot around six weeks ago and follow on from the last campaign Stoddart shot for the ICRC around two years ago, using Leica M9 cameras.

ICRC_HCiD_Checkpoint2.indd ICRC_HCiD_Field_Hospital_EN_EU_BD1 ICRC_HCiD_Recovery.indd ICRC_HCiD_Riot_EU.indd

6 responses to “Tom Stoddart Shoots ‘Healthcare in Danger’

  1. I’m surprised that you endorse this kind of sanitised ‘aid advertising’ Edmond. There are plenty of real-life examples of the plight our fellow man without having to resort to staged trauma. I find it disturbing that organisations set up these situations in order to press the viewer’s empathy button. It’s too much like a video game, as opposed to grim reality.

    • Nothing to be surprised about. The images are by a photographer for whom I have nothing but respect; someone who’s ethical and moral standards are way above most photojournalists’. The images have been created accurately, by someone who has lived these moments, and unlike a video game (as you refer) they are not sensationalised.
      The other option as you say would be to use real people suffering in war zones; however, is this not unethical and immoral? Is this not taking advantage of people going through trauma? Covering man’s inhumanity, natural disasters and conflicts is a must for journalistically and historically; theses images though should not be used in advertising, no matter how correct the cause is – this line will soon become blurred if a precedent is set. Also, in a conflict zone, how is one going to get model releases signed? Is it right to shove a contract under the nose of someone in this state?
      My thoughts are, naturally, no. This campaign uses photographic illustrations. They are accurate and convey the mood and communicate to the viewer why the ICRC should be supported for the work it does. In my opinion, it’s been done extremely well.

  2. Edmond, I too am familiar with Tom’s work. I remember reading that when he started out as a photojournalist an older colleague told him he would have a ‘champagne life on beer wages’. I also remember his coverage of the war in the Bosnia, particularly Sarajevo, and that he was wounded while working in Bosnia.
    My problem with using actors to depict real-life situations for the purposes of raising donations for a cause (however worthy) is that it makes me, the viewer, feel somehow manipulated. I must admit that I didn’t think of needing a model release for such a campaign but I’m sure that many people in the refugee camps in Jordan, for example, would be only too pleased to let the world see how desperate their circumstances are.

    • Mike, the campaign isn’t pretending that these pictures are anything but accurate illustrations. No one is pretending they are reportage images. People in dire situations open up their lives and trust us to tell their stories in the world’s media; accurately, honestly and ethically. These images should not and cannot be used for commercial purpose, regardless of the cause. Please spend a day thinking over the concept as I’m sure you will realise how wrong it would be. We already have scores of day time TV ads showing starving children, with the generic voice over pretending to care and asking for donations; I really don’t want to see this terrible, unethical way of fund raising hit the printed media.

  3. Edmund, I’m pleased that you brought up the day time t.v. ads as these are likely the source of my initial unease!

  4. Thanks Mike and Edmund, interesting discussion. I agree the daytime TV ads showing real starving African children (inevitably) are much more exploitative. These ICRC images don’t make it clear to the casual viewer that they’re not real reportage, especially with their direct, first-person text, but I should think the power with which they’re able to transmit their message, because of that staged artistry, outweighs the moral discomfort of that small deception. Plus, at least some people who need the money actually get paid a decent wage – one of the main models is a friend of mine, a disabled asylum seeker from Afghanistan, living in London, working to get a degree. A good day’s work for him!

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