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A lauded photojournalist and founding member of VII Photo, Antonin Kratochvil has left the agency after a storm of controversy over his alleged sexual harassment of female photographers.

Kratochvil was suspended from VII Photo in July after an investigation into sexual harassment in photojournalism by Kristen Chick was published in the Columbia Journalism Review. Chick’s lengthy article included various allegations that he had sexually harassed female members of the agency, both verbally and physically.

Kratochvil has denied the accusations but, according to VII Photo, submitted his resignation to the agency on 24 August. VII Photo states that his resignation was immediately accepted, and it publicly announced his departure on 03 September.

Kratochvil’s case comes hard on the heels of Patrick Witty’s departure from National Geographic, where the deputy director of photography’s inappropriate behaviour towards women photojournalists was the subject of an internal investigation. Both cases, and Chick’s article, can be seen as indicative of the soul-searching currently underway in photojournalism, a sector that even Lars Boering, managing director of World Press Photo has described as “macho”.

Magnum Photos has recently created a legally binding code of conduct for its photographers and staff, for example, which includes clear guidance re verbal and physical sexual harassment. Magnum is  also currently urging anyone who has suffered from misconduct by either its staff or photographers to get in touch.

Born in 1947 in the-then Czechoslovakia, Kratochvil’s photography has been lauded by the industry, winning him the Infinity Award in 1991, the Dorothea Lange Prize in 1994, a Hasselblad Foundation Grant for Photography in 1995, and two First Prizes at World Press Photos.

Read BJP’s story on Kratochvil’s suspension here: www.1854.photography/2018/07/vii-kratochvil-suspended/ Read Kristen Chick’s original article here: www.cjr.org/special_report/photojournalism-sexual-harassment.php/

Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy

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