Call for submissions – Images of Inequality: seeing disparity through a human rights lens
July 27, 2015


Pictures from last year's photo exhibition by Andy Lin

Pictures from last year’s photo exhibition by Andy Lin

We live in a staggeringly unequal world. The growing gap between the rich and the poor within and between countries has spurred outcry from nearly all corners:  Protestors have taken to the streets across the globe, from Zuccotti Park and Ferguson, Missouri, to Tahrir Square and Athens, Greece, denouncing disparity and demanding democracy. Headlines about the economic divide appear with increasing frequency in the press. Anti-poverty and development organizations have made tackling various forms of inequality paramount. Economists and political scientists have attracted attention with new studies on the causes and consequences of unequal wealth and income distribution. And policymakers, facing these mounting pressures, are finding it increasingly difficult to ignore the gulf between “the haves” and the “have nots.”  Yet, in this rising chorus, the voices of human rights scholars and practitioners have been far from prominent.

In response to these trends, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) has launched a new initiative on inequality, the global economy and human rights.  The initiative seeks to critically examine the role of international human rights law, scholarship, and advocacy in regulating the global economy and countering its tendency to exacerbate inequalities of various types—from economic gaps to social and political divides.  Disparities frequently fall along lines of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, religion, or physical ability, creating mutually reinforcing spirals of inequality.

As part of this initiative, CHRGJ is organizing a photography project to explore the myriad ways in which people witness, interpret, and experience inequalities. We are seeking images that visually represent various forms of inequality and portray struggles for equality, illustrating through photographs the links between inequality and human rights. We welcome photographs that depict inequalities and efforts to combat them here in the United States or anywhere in the world, as the lack of formal and substantive equality threatens human rights all over the globe.

We invite all those with an interest in this topic to submit original photographs depicting inequality —however they understand that term.

These submissions are part of an ongoing project on the visualization of inequality through the lens of human rights, and will be featured on CHRGJ’s home page and other relevant platforms. Submissions that CHRGJ considers offensive or that fall outside of the scope of the project will not be published.

Submissions should be sent to (Images must be sent in .jpeg format with at least 2000 pixels length).

All submissions must be the original work of the photographer, and must be consistent with CHRGJ’s ethical guidelines for photographs. Each submission should indicate the date and location of the photograph, and include a caption and/or description of how the image represents inequality and its link to human rights. By submitting a photograph, the photographer gives permission to CHRGJ to post the image in the Center’s office, on the Center’s website, and to distribute via the Center’s social media accounts, without remuneration. Photographs may also be used by New York University (NYU) and NYU School of Law.

For further information, please write to


CHRGJ’s Ethical guidelines for photography

Documenting issues of human rights through photographs presents particular challenges.  In some instances the act of photographing people and/or publishing and distributing those photos places them or their peers at risk of retribution or stigmatization.

CHRGJ has developed the following guidelines (based on the standards of UNICEF and the NPAA) to help ensure that photographs appearing on the Center’s website or in Center publications adhere to principles of ethical reporting: serving the public interest without compromising the rights of individuals or communities.

  1. The dignity and human rights of each person portrayed should be respected in all circumstances.
  2. In photographing topics related to human rights, special attention should be paid to each subject’s right to privacy and confidentiality and to protection from harm and retribution.
  3. The best interests of persons portrayed in a photograph should take precedence over any other consideration, including advocacy objectives.
  4. Do not publish a story or an image which might put the portrayed person or his or her family/peers at risk, even when identities are changed, obscured, or not used.
  5. Be as accurate and comprehensive as possible in the representation of subjects. Provide context when photographing subjects to avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and strive to avoid presenting biases in the work.
  6. Take care not to intrude on private moments of actors to obtain interesting footage.
  7. Editing should maintain the integrity of both the content and the context of the photographic image. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.

For more information on ethics, please visit


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