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Not So Picture Perfect


What if I told you that a photograph was worth a thousand words? But what words? What if the words were “unethical” and “fiction”?

Though many would deny this claim, for the indigenous Maya people of Yucatán, it’s far from falsehood. What may have seemed like a typical act of journalism has in actuality created a slew of questions and concerns about the ethical validity in which photography plays in cultural perception.

For the Maya people, capturing suicide through photography isn’t the issue at hand but the way in which the photographs and reports are being presented to the public audience. Through images and articles “red” journalism has influenced the illusion that “Maya people have a cultural predisposition to suicide.” In The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean article “He Followed the Funereal Steps of Ixtab: The Pleasurable Aesthetics of Suicide in Newspaper Journalism in Yucat´an, Mexico ” By Beatriz Reyes-Foster, the issue of cultural misconception through media is addressed.

Though photography may portray images that allow room for misinterpretation, images also encourage us to engage in cultural aesthetics while also stimulating intellectual thinking and dialogue. A thousand words may not all perfectly fit into the “box” labeled “positive” but the conscious questioning and analyzing of these words is what drives progression towards ethical media.

SLACA Spring Meeting 2013 in Merida, Mexico

Today’s guest blog post is by Gabriela Vargas-Cetina and Steffan Igor Ayora-Diaz.

Photo Courtesy SLACA

The Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology (SLACA) announces its Fourth Spring Conference, to be held at the Autonomous University of Yucatan, in Merida, Mexico, March 20, 21 and 22, 2013.  This exciting conference will take place in beautiful Yucatan, under the theme Post-National Transformations: Culture and Politics in the Greater Latin America and the Caribbean.  We invite anthropologists in all anthropological sub-disciplines, to submit 500-word abstracts.  Registration will take place through the website of the American Anthropological Association in January 2013.

Merida is a beautiful, safe and culturally vibrant city in Eastern Mexico.  There are direct flights via Houston, Cancun or Mexico City, and it can also be reached by bus from Cancun’s international airport.

Important deadlines: September 31, 2012, submission of abstracts and sessions; November 1, 2012, announcement of the pre-selected abstracts and sessions; November 2, registration for the conference begins, through the AAA site; January 15, deadline to register for the conference; March 1st, 2013, publication of the preliminary program; March 20th, beginning of the Conference in Merida, Mexico.

Further information: Visit the SLACA Meetings webpage.


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