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CEGA uses photos from the field on our website, in printed materials, and in presentations. The majority of these
photos do not come from professional photographers, but from students and staff working in field settings. Our
ability to publish photos from multiple contributors is an asset, but it requires faculty, staff, and students to be
highly conscientious when taking photographs, and mindful of the fact that photographs may be used later in


Consent Guidelines

No Consent Needed

Verbal Consent Required

Written Consent Encouraged

Written Consent Required

Not Allowed Ever

Obtaining Informed Consent

“Informed consent” means that the subject is fully aware of your intentions for taking a photograph. It may be
useful for you to show prospective subjects an example of an image that has been published before taking the
photo (i.e. a flier or booklet), so that they can see what might eventually appear in print or online. Before taking
photographs in another cultural context, talk to your colleagues and learn how the culture views photography, as
well as the issues you are interested in documenting. Find out if photography is considered rude or sacrilegious.
Show extreme care and sensitivity when photographing taboo practices, stigmatized populations, or vulnerable
populations. Some issues are sensitive in most societies (e.g. abortion, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, prostitution). At
the very least, obtain verbal consent to take and use a photo.

Verbal Consent
Obtaining written consent is not practical in all circumstances. Written documents may have little or no meaning to
people who speak a different language, people with low literacy, and people who live in cultures where
photography or publications are not common. In these cases, it may be appropriate to use verbal consent. When
possible, establish a relationship before you start taking photos. When you approach photo subjects in the field,
briefly introduce yourself, be courteous, and explain the purpose of your visit or the reason you want to take
photos. In clinical or educational contexts, it is often necessary to speak with the clinical director or teacher before
you begin photographing:
“I am taking photos for CEGA, an organization working to improve health in [your country]. Do I have
your permission to take some photos for our organization’s use in published material?”

If you don’t speak the same language, communicate with your body language. If you sense any reluctance,
confusion, or disdain from possible photo subjects, please refrain from taking the photo.

Written Consent
In situations where written consent is the best practice or is required, consider these tips:

Sample Language for Written Informed Consent
“I consent to the worldwide publication of photographs in which I can be recognized. I understand that these
images will be used for educational purposes and that the photographs may be published with information about
my country/location, but without other identifying information such as my name.”

All photos should include a detailed caption and source including photographer, description of the photo (e.g.
subject matter or context, if applicable), country and date, if possible.

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