International Guild of Visual Peacemakers

IGVP is a collaborative peacemaking movement owned by every contributing member as well as the photographic subjects themselves, ultimately producing mutual respect and peace in contexts of endless diversity.

Throughout history people have fallen into the trap of making enemies with, demonizing, stereotyping, and fighting the “other.” There has been a flood of conflict based on ethnic, cultural, and religious identity in the post-cold war era that has ended the lives of millions, destroyed economies, and torn apart families.

Much of this has been fueled by the growing availability of technology, especially photography and videography. While the written word carries an expectation for honesty, there is a void regarding the ethics of images due to their subjective nature. This void has opened the door for photographers to exploit people’s desire to confirm their thoughts about the “other”—mobilizing innumerable people towards slander, violence, and other fear-based responses.

Since 9/11, conflicts between Muslim cultures and western cultures have been growing in intensity. There are deep misunderstandings and stereotypes that are producing widespread fear and anger.

The International Guild of Visual Peacemakers (IGVP) was created to build bridges of peace across ethnic, cultural, and religious lines through visual communication that is both accountable to an ethical standard and created by those who authentically care about people.

Who & What is IGVP…

IGVP is a membership-based network of visual communicators and staff united around one purpose: Visual Peacemaking. We are an international community composed of multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds.

IGVP visual communicators use their craft to breakdown stereotypes of the “other,” to display the dignity of cultures, and to show the common humanity amongst peoples of the world.

IGVP isn’t interested in glossing over conflict, tragedy, or injustice. However, IGVP believes that highlighting the beauty and dignity of people is a more creative and redemptive pursuit than “shock value.”

IGVP founders and volunteers support these visual communicators by promoting their work, providing a synergistic community, providing an ethical standard with accountability, and other types of practical support.

The exclusive Guild membership is reserved for exemplary visual peacemakers in character and craft, thought leaders, and for those well positioned to add value to the broader Visual Peacemakers Community (The VPC).

All persons involved are bound by the common convictions expressed in the Ethical Code.

IGVP also leverages each visual peacemaker to make a difference beyond the photographic community. They can invite friends, peers, and family to take part by signing the Charter for Visual Peace that expresses what it means to be a socially conscious viewer of visual media.

IGVP desires to work with all photographers who share our convictions, but we have a particular interest in those who seek to be peacemakers in the midst of the tensions between the West and Muslim cultures.

IGVP is not affiliated with any one religion or faith, however we acknowledge that IGVP members are often faith-inspired. We encourage respectful discussion about hard topics among people who disagree yet work together for the good of our world. To promote diversity, authenticity, and accountability, we urge members to explore their peacemaking motives and to openly share their convictions with respect and humility.

Javier Acebal

About the author: Javier Acebal

I'm a photographer based in Dakar (West Africa). I love to document cultures and people! (but also working for tourism industry).

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