Witness: Photographers, Journalists, and Social Workers Respond to Tragedy

Unlike social workers or therapists—the witnesses of the helping professions—journalists and photographers function mainly to inform, interpret, and bridge rather than to help directly. Documentary photographers can inspire understanding and compassion with their images and can contribute to opening paths to assistance. 

Yet, there are pitfalls and ethical challenges when documenting stories about communities or individuals who have been through traumatic experiences. This panel explored ways to strengthen the impact of documentary practice, sharing knowledge and practices of inclusion across disciplines.


This event was jointly sponsored by the Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Project, the Columbia University School of Social Work, and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

DeCesare's exhibition Sharing Secrets: Children's Portraits Exposing Stigma is part of the Moving Walls 12 photography exhibition organized by the Open Society Institute and is on display at the Columbia School of Social Work. For more information about the Moving Walls exhibition, please visit www.movingwalls.org.


Columbia University School of Social Work
1255 Amsterdam Avenue
(between 121st and 122nd Streets)
Concourse Level, Room C03
New York, NY

Date: December 3, 2008
Time: 6:30 p.m.

New York City