It’s an image that’s difficult to look at, let alone describe in words.
A photograph by Souvid Datta shows a sixteen-year-old girl lying on her back, reportedly being raped by a man in the red light district of Kolkata, India.
The photograph captures the horrifying reality of daily life for an underage girl forced to have sex with clients.
The photograph caption reads: “Men visiting Sonagachi often drink heavily or use narcotics while with sex-workers, noticeably increasing their chances of women’s abuse and mistreatment.”
Why then, was this disturbing image used to promote a photographic competition?
NPR reports that the image of the girl—with her face in view— was used by magazine LensCulture to promote a photographic competition with Magnum Photos.
Benjamin Chesterton, of film production and training company Duckrabbit, has slammed the use of the photograph for commercial gain.
"This is a photo of a child sex slave being used to promote a for-profit competition by Magnum — the most prestigious photo agency in the world,” he wrote on April 30.
"I've seen some moral bankruptcy in photojournalism, but this is the most extreme.”
LensCulture has since issued a series of apologies on Facebook about the use of the image and the image’s authenticity (that’s another story).
"We condemn the lack of ethical standards used to create the photograph in question, and we apologize for publishing the photograph (which should never be published anywhere),” the post said.