Note: I wanted to share photos of the kids from the school we visited in South Africa but I realize that I don’t have permission from their parents or guardians – only their teachers. Consequently, I’ve tried to select images where the kids are either in the distance, or not visible head-on, so that it wouldn’t be easy to identify them. In some instances, I have tried to reduce the focus on them (literally) while still trying to maintain the integrity of the image. My intent was not to reduce them to a background, to dehumanize them, or turn them into props for the white tourists visiting their school. Rather, I wished to maintain their privacy. I hope that my efforts to keep them anonymous has not insulted their autonomy in any way.
Needless to say, these are real children. They have real feelings and problems and losses and triumphs. They are not anecdotes. They do not exist so that I can make a donation to their school and feel better about myself. But they do exist. And they should not be ignored or overlooked.
I am also acutely aware that it is kind of messed up to have the only non-blurry image be of a small white child in South Africa. But that’s the compromise I went with, as I have Jack’s parent’s permission to put him on the blog.
Please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you want to further discuss the issue of how to portray children on blogs.
The fence around Blomvlei was tall, lined on the top with barbed wire. The buildings inside had bars on all the windows. The administrative offices were surrounded by multiple barred doors.