Alison Stieven-Taylor moderates debate in Sydney

Alison Stieven-Taylor with festival director Moshe Rosenzveig.

Sydney’s annual Head On Photo Festival invited Monash PhD candidate Alison Stieven-Taylor to moderate the key debate for this year’s festival on the question “Does photojournalism facilitate or counteract fake news?”

The debate, held on 7th May, drew a full house and a diverse audience keen to hear international photojournalists, documentary photographers, and social media experts discuss three key issues facing photojournalism today: audience trust in the image as evidence; manipulation; and misappropriation.

“It was a fantastic lively and highly topical debate,” says Alison a freelance journalist and industry commentator who specialises in photojournalism, the subject of her PhD.

“Fake news isn’t new. But in an era where the digital space has made it even easier for images to be doctored and misappropriated, it is important for the industry to discuss how this climate impacts the way photojournalism is made and received.”

Panelists were renowned American documentary photographer Maggie Steber, Israeli photographer Natan Dvir, award-winning Australian photojournalist Brian Cassey, social media expert Kyla Woods, photojournalist and founder of Everyday Climate Change James Whitlow Delano and founder of Everyday Japan Q. Sakamaki.

“Digital media has delivered new opportunities for photojournalists to actively be part of the conversation and communicate with their audiences directly. It’s a very exciting time for photojournalism, but it is not without challenges and this debate addressed some of the hot topics of the moment,” Alison concludes.

You can find out more about Head On Photo Festival here (

You can see Alison’s work on her blog Photojournalism Now.