1854 Awards: Standard of Practice

1854 awards encourage free artistic expression according to UNESCO’s definition:

‘Artistic freedom is the freedom to imagine, create and distribute diverse cultural expressions free of governmental censorship, political interference or the pressures of non-state actors. It includes the right of all citizens to have access to these works and is essential for the well-being of societies’


We encourage work that sparks debate and challenges the viewer, and we understand that not all portraits should be flattering, especially in today’s current and, at times, cruel geopolitical climate. Nor would we necessarily want them to be.

That being said, we recognise that those with their finger on the shutter are in a position of power which should not be taken lightly. Photographers have a duty of care to their subjects, particularly children and vulnerable people, and their safety and comfort should be of the utmost importance. 

This is why we have developed 1854 Awards’ Standard of Practice, inspired by Photographers Without Borders.

Standard of Practice

Photos should respect human dignity and ensure the rights, safety and well-being of the person or people being portrayed.

  • Photos should respect human dignity and ensure the rights, safety and well-being of the person or people being portrayed.
  • When photographing people/objects/places outside of your culture, ensure compliance with local traditions or restrictions when taking photographs 
  • Keep up to date with national laws related to photography and privacy rights.
  • Gain clear verbal or written consent by all subjects, and respect a person’s right to refuse to be photographed.This consent should be informed, meaning the subjects should know how you intend to use the images.
  • Do no harm. Individuals or groups may be put at risk of reprisal, violence or rejection in their communities as a result of exposing their identity or personal story through the publication of their image.

Without explicit permission, photos of individuals exploring issues that are culturally or politically sensitive must not disclose the identity and privacy of the subject

  • Do not identify individuals without their explicit and informed consent. Position the camera so that faces and other unique characteristics cannot be seen.
  • Ensure written consent to use real names and locations in situations where disclosure could result in harm.
  • Identifiable images of individuals should not be used to illustrate sensitive subject matter in such a way as to indicate that the individual is connected with the issue. Unless the subject has given explicit consent and informed.

Photos of people who are vulnerable are to be taken with particular care, compassion and protection of privacy.

  • Photograph all people with respect and dignity. 
  • Survivors of sexual exploitation, gender-based violence or abuse are not to be identified as such (unless it is an objective of a project with informed consent).
  • An individual’s status as a person living with HIV, TB or any other serious health conditions must not be revealed without informed consent.
  • An individual’s engagement in socially marginalised or criminal activities must not be identified without informed consent.
  • Care must be taken in photographing people in times of crisis; Do not exploit an individual’s vulnerability at times of trauma or grief. Integrity must outweigh costs.

Our Standard of Practice is designed to be developed and built upon. Please feel free to contact us if you have any feedback at awards@1854.media