The Image World of Maternal Mortality: Visual Economies of Hope and Aspiration in the Global Campaigns to Reduce Maternal Mortality

Abstract: This essay explores the aesthetic and narrative conventions of the still and moving images deployed in global campaigns to reduce maternal mortality since the 1980s.  I focus on how an international community of advocates, policy makers, and practitioners choose, understand, and use images to create awareness, rouse public sympathy and interest, and call people to action on this issue. I argue that the global maternal health community has constructed an “image world” not of suffering but of hope and aspiration by which they hope to foment the shared sense of humanity and impulse to act that is said to be at the heart of humanitarianism.

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