My older brother sometimes tells me to be careful about getting political in my posts, but I think when you are working with a product like tea that is unavoidable. The history of commodity trading seems to be always and already spun up with the history of colonialism. Great strides have been taken to make supply chains more equitable, and yet the benefits still largely fall inequitably.
So, here is something that I have been thinking about recently. There are a lot of great brands in the space, working towards creating change and impact. YET, I see a lot of photos like the one in this picture. I found it using a graphic design site. I have no idea who those hands belong to. I have not asked their consent to be used in my feed. To me, this matters deeply.
Extensive research has been done on the role imagery plays in perpetuating stereotype and story. To me, posting photos to further my brand without the consent of the growers and communities pictured, and without relationship, feels unethical. Would such photos directly benefit the person or community in a measurable way, and what narrative am I reinforcing with my brand by representing these stories in this way? Without meaningful connection and relationship grounded in reciprocity, these images feel extractive.
Now, to be clear, not all brands do this. A lot of brands use photos grounded in genuine relationship and connection.
I would like to see more brands naming the relationship they have to the people, places, and communities posted in their photos.
What do you think?