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Author Topic: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?  (Read 6901 times)

Chris Sanderson

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New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« on: August 23, 2017, 12:18:55 PM »

Andrew Molitor has written a modest proposal for a resource that might be used to sound the ethics for the use of published images - images that may have been altered or 'photoshopped' or which have content that is arguably exploitative.

Find it here.
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Christopher Sanderson
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alainbriot

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2017, 01:39:53 PM »

It's an excellent essay.  My personal solution is to be honest and open about what I do. My approach to photography is artistic and I make no secret that all my work is representative of my personal vision of the scene, not representative of reality.  In short it is manipulated, enhanced, modified, changed, altered, transformed, Briotized, etc. 

I also offer a 100% money back guarantee if someone buys my work and as it turns out it is not manipulated.  This guarantee is posted on my Prices page on my site under heading 4-Personal Style Warranty.  I obviously take no risks here since all my images are transformations of reality in one way or another.  However, this guarantee does make the point that the work is not about reality.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 01:43:57 PM by alainbriot »
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Alain Briot
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melgross

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 01:59:04 PM »

I still have the issue of, I believe it was Camera 35, where Smith’s photos and story were presented.

What people now don’t understand, was the severe situation that he was representing. Eventually, he died from the beatings he received at the hands of the thugs hired by the company.

Nothing in any of his photos misrepresented the reality that he was presenting, and it was a terrible one. From the distance of time, it’s easy to talk about possibly ethical violations. But when looking at if from the time it happened, there was the question whether his photos were enough. Fortunately, they were, and the Japanese government stepped in. An unusual situation at the time, and the government was concealing problems caused by their industries in these days, not cleaning them up.

Smith’s work went a long way towards making the government there change its ways. He was personally responsible for that, and paid for it. There is nothing anyone can say about ethics there. Nothing at all. The problem is that it’s too abstract a situation for the author to appreciate. And having seen many of his photos firsthand, back then, I can say that the manipulation he did was common. It was used to enhance, not to alter or conceal.
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OmerV

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2017, 03:51:24 PM »

Well, I think there ought to be a conversation on the ethics of television docudramas. And geez, how 'bout them Avengers? I mean a scientist guy that turns green, gets really big and looses all his smarts is definitely an insult to scientists, right? So, "Ethical Cartooning: Why not now?" Yeah.




amolitor

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2017, 04:08:33 PM »

Interestingly, Smith's work probably had little to do with any government actions in the Minamata case. It is a commonly held feeling that Smith's work was instrumental  in the Minamata settlements, but this seems to simply be untrue.

- The first publication of any of the work is in June 1972, in Life
- The Camera 35 issues appears to be 1974
- the book on Minamata is 1975.

Relevant government actions are:

- various arbitrated agreements in the decades prior to the Smith's time in  Minamata
- recognition that the disease was caused by the pollution in september 1968 (still prior to Smith's arrival)
- the verdict in  favor of the litigation group, Mar 20, 1973
- subsequent bailouts of Chisso to prevent them going out of business through the next decades, after the Smiths departed

(another random note: The EPA began operations about 6 months after the Life publication, so while its launch may have been shaped or accelerated, slightly, by Smith's work, its formation is likewise not primarily "cause" by Smith's Minamata story. Prior to specifically studying the Minamata work, I would have bet cash money, and quite a lot of it, that Smith's work was very influential, but again the evidence is against it. Think back and ask yourself which President must have signed those documents, though!)

It is possible that the Life article had an impact on the verdict, but it it worth noting that the Japanese media were doing Plenty Of Work at the same time, and it's unreasonable to suppose that the Life carried any particular weight.

None of which is to discount Smith's work. The book is a masterwork of photojournalism, and as I think I made clear in my essay, it absolutely tells us important truths. It is not dishonest in any way shape or form. However, neither is it objective (Smith's own  opening statement makes this explicit) and nor are the photographs un-manipulated, and nor are the photographs without ethical concerns (again,  Smith's own words, he was constantly troubled as he did this work).
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 04:31:13 PM by amolitor »
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melgross

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2017, 04:57:17 PM »

Interestingly, Smith's work probably had little to do with any government actions in the Minamata case. It is a commonly held feeling that Smith's work was instrumental  in the Minamata settlements, but this seems to simply be untrue.

- The first publication of any of the work is in June 1972, in Life
- The Camera 35 issues appears to be 1974
- the book on Minamata is 1975.

Relevant government actions are:

- various arbitrated agreements in the decades prior to the Smith's time in  Minamata
- recognition that the disease was caused by the pollution in september 1968 (still prior to Smith's arrival)
- the verdict in  favor of the litigation group, Mar 20, 1973
- subsequent bailouts of Chisso to prevent them going out of business through the next decades, after the Smiths departed

(another random note: The EPA began operations about 6 months after the Life publication, so while its launch may have been shaped or accelerated, slightly, by Smith's work, its formation is likewise not primarily "cause" by Smith's Minamata story. Prior to specifically studying the Minamata work, I would have bet cash money, and quite a lot of it, that Smith's work was very influential, but again the evidence is against it. Think back and ask yourself which President must have signed those documents, though!)

It is possible that the Life article had an impact on the verdict, but it it worth noting that the Japanese media were doing Plenty Of Work at the same time, and it's unreasonable to suppose that the Life carried any particular weight.

None of which is to discount Smith's work. The book is a masterwork of photojournalism, and as I think I made clear in my essay, it absolutely tells us important truths. It is not dishonest in any way shape or form. However, neither is it objective (Smith's own  opening statement makes this explicit) and nor are the photographs un-manipulated, and nor are the photographs without ethical concerns (again,  Smith's own words, he was constantly troubled as he did this work).

Yes, the Camera 35 issue came out later, but his work was know long before that, and was published widely within Japan itself, according to a friend who lived there at the time. He said that the response to it was one of shock over the country. There’s no doubt that it spurred the country to action.

The question of ethics isn’t a simply one of right or wrong. It’s a matter of degree too. I know all about the arguments of the ends not justifying the means. But there are limits to that. If people are being crippled and dying do to a major problem, and you can present that problem in such a way as to mobilize people to get it stopped, then is it unethical to manipulate images to show what really, after all, is happening? I don’t think so.

If it’s a book, and you’re doing major manipulation just to forward a feeling, then that’s a different level. Eliminating a person from an image to convey just the opposite of what the actual image represents is unethical.
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amolitor

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2017, 05:18:21 PM »

With all due respect, since we clearly agree on the essential point that the ethical concerns in these sorts of situations are complex and fluid, to what action to we imagine the country of Japan was spurred by Gene Smith's pictures?

He didn't even arrive until 1971, and as far as I can see literally the only substantial action by "the country" that occurs after that is the verdict in  favor of the litigation group, which trial had been going on for 1-2 years before Smith shot his first frame, and which concludes shortly after the first pictures might have been published. The verdict is the last, and most beneficient, of a long long series of settlements and verdicts that occurred in the decades prior. While Smith's pictures may have stirred up a lot of comment and excitement, the trajectory was set before Smith arrived, it appears to me.

Smith in fact was told that the story was over, and that he shouldn't even go. It's done, it's settled, everyone knows Chisso's at fault it's just a question of sorting out the details.

The impact, I maintain, and I believe the evidence supports me, is much broader than simply the details of who got what from Chisso in  Minamata. The Japanese, I maintain, and I believe the evidence supports me, did the vast majority of the heavy lifting here.

Smith's work is a keystone work in an edifice of work that, perhaps, starts with Silent Spring and continues today, work that continues to modify what is normal, that continues to teach us not to trust corporations to take care of us or to treat us fairly.

Minamata was just the starting point, and in  the end it doesn't even matter in the grand scheme of things if Smith got the victims an extra $10,000 or not (although I dare say the victims would have been pleased).
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Rob C

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2017, 05:34:00 PM »

I can understand why it might be seen as an issue, but I think there's a big problem: the magazines such as Life are long gone. Even that august body had fights with its own staffers over uses (and what some saw as misuses) of their photography. And don't forget that photography, at the time, played a soft second-fiddle to the writers. Yes, seeing may have been believing, but is it today?

Today, apart from those who delight in calling out snappers or writers, few give a damn either way. Criticism is an insider game; the rest of humanity cares nothing about photography and remembers even less. Sure, there are always extreme religious groups who will find a fault with anything, but they are as much a problem as the things to which they object.

Truth is, few really give a damn about anybody else's photography, especially so if the other person isn't besotted with cameras and that game. I long ago gave up trying to show people I know the route to my website. Turns out none of them ever bothered looking it up. When I first discovered this I was a bit miffed, and then I did the simple trick of putting the shoe onto the other foot, and it made perfect sense.

There's the artificial issue of models on fashion magazines. Those zealots get their reinforced knickers into twists because the girls on the catwalk look so skinny. Sure they do, but they are on the catwalk, and Jane Public seldom sets her heavy foot there: only fashion writers, buyers and special customers usually get invited, fat or thin-footed as they may be - and everybody knows why the girls are stick models: they make clothes look more elegant. It's the business of selling: first to buyers and then to the public. It's the selling of clothes. Period.

When it comes to photographing for those magazines, they photograph as they do because they charge page rates to shops and cosmetic and fashion people who want to expose their wares to the tiny market able to buy. It's about selling brand, not any specific skirt, dress or blouse at several grand a pop. That's just the gloss to draw attention to brand. You don't make people want to pay you a fortune because you show off the girl next door (in your dreams) - you have to sell your customer the idea of being in a better, a special place if she buys into your product. That some nutter will starve herself to death because she wants to look like a stick is nobody's fault but her own, her lack of common sense. Might as well abolish birds because some other nut glides off buildings with or without a parachute. It's part of the contemporary disease: it's always somebody else's fault, whether I'm rich or poor, blonde or brunette or just plain bald, thin or fat.

Frankly, we need less interference with our lives than more. Freedom of speech is becoming ever more at risk, even as more and more verbiage gets out there onto the social networks, and the very stuff that should be taken down is protected by the zillionaires who run the game. How ironic if FBook or Twitter were to have their owners blown to shit by the very terrorists they allows to roam across their platforms! Nothing gets done about that material, nor about the porn that corrupts the young and previously sane old.

Nope, no more censorship of ordinary people; lots more of it where it matters.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 05:37:07 PM by Rob C »
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Osprey

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2017, 06:58:08 AM »

The fact that Smith appears to have been beaten for digging into the story goes against this reading of events.

With all due respect, since we clearly agree on the essential point that the ethical concerns in these sorts of situations are complex and fluid, to what action to we imagine the country of Japan was spurred by Gene Smith's pictures?

He didn't even arrive until 1971, and as far as I can see literally the only substantial action by "the country" that occurs after that is the verdict in  favor of the litigation group, which trial had been going on for 1-2 years before Smith shot his first frame, and which concludes shortly after the first pictures might have been published. The verdict is the last, and most beneficient, of a long long series of settlements and verdicts that occurred in the decades prior. While Smith's pictures may have stirred up a lot of comment and excitement, the trajectory was set before Smith arrived, it appears to me.

Smith in fact was told that the story was over, and that he shouldn't even go. It's done, it's settled, everyone knows Chisso's at fault it's just a question of sorting out the details.

The impact, I maintain, and I believe the evidence supports me, is much broader than simply the details of who got what from Chisso in  Minamata. The Japanese, I maintain, and I believe the evidence supports me, did the vast majority of the heavy lifting here.

Smith's work is a keystone work in an edifice of work that, perhaps, starts with Silent Spring and continues today, work that continues to modify what is normal, that continues to teach us not to trust corporations to take care of us or to treat us fairly.

Minamata was just the starting point, and in  the end it doesn't even matter in the grand scheme of things if Smith got the victims an extra $10,000 or not (although I dare say the victims would have been pleased).
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amolitor

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2017, 09:05:22 AM »

The fact that Smith appears to have been beaten for digging into the story goes against this reading of events.

That is a beautiful story, but it is untrue.

Smith was photographing a protest action during which Chisso security got violent. Smith may have been singled out for extra violence in the
moment as, perhaps, the gaijin with the camera, but there's no evidence of anything deeper. He was severely injured, but there's no evidence that
Chisso was trying to stop him from uncovering the story.

Smith's pictures consistently show us other photographers, often lots of them. Smith's words tell us about the ongoing media circus in the town of Minamata. He describes parades of journalists, literally a line of them traipsing through town, visiting the usual people, the usual places, every time anything remotely newsworthy occurs.

The myth of Eugene Smith as the lone reporter, digging up truths uncomfortable to the faceless corporation, simple isn't true. The truth was known before Smith arrived. The critical testimony proving Chisso's deliberate cover-up had been given before the Smiths arrived. Uncovering the facts of the case is simply not what Smith was about.

And, just do everyone knows, I've actually done the work here. I am not Jim Hughes, nor am I a Minamata expert, but I have actually read Smith's book and have looked up and read related materials. I dislike being in the role of squashing everyone's half-remembered impressions about myths surrounding events of nearly fifty years ago, and it's not relevant to the essay I wrote in the first place. But if you're going to argue with me, I suppose I  will do my best to correct misconceptions.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 09:09:05 AM by amolitor »
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Rob C

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2017, 09:11:09 AM »

Come to think of it, messing about with content and editorial distortions and misrepresentations was one other reason for the creation of Magnum; it wasn't just about retention of copyright. There's little new under the Sun.

Rob

alainbriot

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2017, 09:40:39 AM »

Come to think of it, messing about with content and editorial distortions and misrepresentations was one other reason for the creation of Magnum; it wasn't just about retention of copyright. There's little new under the Sun.

Rob

Totally accurate. And Cartier Bresson (who founded Magnum) saw himself (and the work he is known for) as a journalist, not an artist, even though he was trained as and he painted and drew his whole life.
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Alain Briot
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OmerV

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2017, 11:08:28 AM »

Totally accurate. And Cartier Bresson (who founded Magnum) saw himself (and the work he is known for) as a journalist, not an artist, even though he was trained as and he painted and drew his whole life.

I think that's backwards. Bresson considered himself an artist and did not fancy taking pictures only for documenting though his work was obviously used as journalism.* As for Eugene Smith, hell, everybody knows he dramatized not only his Minimata work but his early photography as well.** So what? The thing is, while journalism has loftily considered facts above opinion, journalism is always imbued with opinion. Even those sacred cows of the enlightened, NPR and APM will subtly align with a side. Listen carefully. And of course there's all the major media which has splintered along political lines. Read all about the WSJ and the editor's attempt to stifle in-house criticism of Donald.

Ethics? Are we so juvenile that we must now use a Disney version of the First Amendment? That dear friends is not ethics, it is censorship, at least to adults. As for Souvid Datta, what he did was plagiarism, a bit beyond opining. So please, let's get on, grow up and leave the ethically correct Hallmark likes of "The Family of Man" in the rear view mirror.


*http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/04/arts/04CND-CARTIER.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5090&en=11443904bc0a721f&ex=1249358400&partner=rssuserland

**In fairness to Smith, during his professional career publications like Life, Look and National Geographic preferred melodramatic work.

amolitor

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2017, 11:25:44 AM »

Omer, I realize that your presence on LuLa's forums is now entirely devoted to attacking my front page pieces, so replying to you is likely fruitless. Still, allow me to quote from the first paragraph of my recent piece:

"We’re seeing a lot of commentaries triggered by the Souvid Datta episode, where he is accused of both photographing unethically, and of passing off collaged and plagiarized material as his own."

There are two issues with Datta, one is plagiarism, and the other is working in an unethical fashion. I am frankly uninterested in the first.

While it's clear that you disagree with my piece, and with everything else I write, simply saying "No, ethics is easy you are wrong" isn't really a reply, it's just an opinion.
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amolitor

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2017, 11:42:54 AM »

It is perhaps worth re-iterating a point that is not sufficiently clear in my front-page piece.

This isn't trivial stuff, shooting in an ethical way is complex and difficult. This isn't just my opinion, most of the people I cite in my remarks (Stryker, Berman, Smith, even Datta) have written at some length about how hard it is. People who have not been there making these choices moment by moment, and a few people who have, tend to talk about how it's easy, you basically "just don't do the bad things, duh" but those people are, objectively, measurably, wrong.

To be honest, I'll take Smith's opinion (there are at least two passages in his Minamata book where he explicitly wrestles with the ethical issues, just for starters) over, well, most anyone else's, and certainly over general remarks by People On The Internet.

My essay is specifically and entirely about better equipping photographers to cope with the inherent ethical difficulties that crop up as they go about their work.
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Rob C

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2017, 12:52:12 PM »

I think that's backwards. Bresson considered himself an artist and did not fancy taking pictures only for documenting though his work was obviously used as journalism.* As for Eugene Smith, hell, everybody knows he dramatized not only his Minimata work but his early photography as well.** So what? The thing is, while journalism has loftily considered facts above opinion, journalism is always imbued with opinion. Even those sacred cows of the enlightened, NPR and APM will subtly align with a side. Listen carefully. And of course there's all the major media which has splintered along political lines. Read all about the WSJ and the editor's attempt to stifle in-house criticism of Donald.

Ethics? Are we so juvenile that we must now use a Disney version of the First Amendment? That dear friends is not ethics, it is censorship, at least to adults. As for Souvid Datta, what he did was plagiarism, a bit beyond opining. So please, let's get on, grow up and leave the ethically correct Hallmark likes of "The Family of Man" in the rear view mirror.


*http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/04/arts/04CND-CARTIER.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5090&en=11443904bc0a721f&ex=1249358400&partner=rssuserland

**In fairness to Smith, during his professional career publications like Life, Look and National Geographic preferred melodramatic work.


You really should watch some of his video interviews, those where he speaks, not those easy ones about him; you'd either change your mind or tell the memory of HC-B that he's a liar.

He gave up photography in the end, and settled back down with his first loves: painting and drawing. Photography was of interest to him primarily because it allowed him a route into publishing his left-leaning views via the magazines that carried those opinions. You mustn't forget that he came from anything but impoverished roots; this sort of paradox is quite often to be seen, though it usually reverts back to a more adult view on liberté, égalité and fraternité as age and reality become more dominant.

He didn't just work in Paris - he went all over this globe of ours. He could afford to do that. But should you look a little more carefully at his oeuvre, you'll see that everything had the same slant: we, as photograhers, especially the more free that we are, do what we do in the way that we do it because that's what we do. It isn't any great mystery. We fulfil our programmed rôle. Like robots created to think themselves "artists", we do what our wiring tells us to do. That's why I can't understand how people can believe that they can pay somebody who'll then go on to show them how to be artists. All anyone can show them is tool-using. Anything deeper has to be their own, and if it is there, why pay for it? Ah, of coure, to "bring it out..."

Rob

Rob C

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2017, 01:07:18 PM »

It is perhaps worth re-iterating a point that is not sufficiently clear in my front-page piece.

This isn't trivial stuff, shooting in an ethical way is complex and difficult. This isn't just my opinion, most of the people I cite in my remarks (Stryker, Berman, Smith, even Datta) have written at some length about how hard it is. People who have not been there making these choices moment by moment, and a few people who have, tend to talk about how it's easy, you basically "just don't do the bad things, duh" but those people are, objectively, measurably, wrong.

To be honest, I'll take Smith's opinion (there are at least two passages in his Minamata book where he explicitly wrestles with the ethical issues, just for starters) over, well, most anyone else's, and certainly over general remarks by People On The Internet.

My essay is specifically and entirely about better equipping photographers to cope with the inherent ethical difficulties that crop up as they go about their work.


Well, I have never been a photojournalist but my photographic life has had its fair share of moral decisions that had to be made on the fly. Take fashion, for one: lot's of pictures from the 70s onwards, at least, feature open shirts with acres of tit on display. There are markets for that but insofar as my fashion life went, they were not what my clients wanted from me. Moral decisions? Of course; the girls never knew what I was supposed to do other than make snaps of whatever they wore, and it was up to me to show or not to show. I chose never to do so because I felt it was exploiting the girls, and such images would have been for my own gratification, had I made them without client request.

When it came to calendars, I was perfectly happy to photograph some of the best boobs in London, and though it would have been easy to go medical, again, I didn't want to do that.

So on the fly decisions are easy to make; they are part of your own character, and the call you make your nature coming through.

I don't know much about you, but I suspect you have not personally experienced these photographic situations and are writing from theory.

Rob
« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 05:33:51 PM by Rob C »
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amolitor

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2017, 01:23:09 PM »

I do own a camera, and I do take photographs with it from time to time. I  am, therefore, confronted from time to time with the same ethical problems. I am not photographing the catastrophe in  Yemen or anything of that sort, and I do not publish on a global or even national stage so the impacts of my decisions are, for the most part, minuscule.

In addition, yep, I have a fairly firm grasp of the theory.

Make of that what you will.

ETA: But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Given the frequency with which, just as a single facet of the issue, we see scandals in photojournalistic contests, awards, and so on, we are left to conclude that either (or both):

- the world of photojournalism is populated largely with sociopaths
- this is actually pretty hard

The first is actually the tack taken all too often. Souvid Datta is just a bad seed, he's just evil. So is Steve McCurry. So is Hossein Fatemi. And Giovanni Troilo. And Paul Hansen. And. And. Golly, this list is getting pretty long. But, since it's "easy" and it's just your character coming through, the only explanation is that these guys are all just Bad People.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 01:35:28 PM by amolitor »
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Rob C

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2017, 03:38:53 PM »

I do own a camera, and I do take photographs with it from time to time. I  am, therefore, confronted from time to time with the same ethical problems. I am not photographing the catastrophe in  Yemen or anything of that sort, and I do not publish on a global or even national stage so the impacts of my decisions are, for the most part, minuscule.

In addition, yep, I have a fairly firm grasp of the theory.

Make of that what you will.

ETA: But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Given the frequency with which, just as a single facet of the issue, we see scandals in photojournalistic contests, awards, and so on, we are left to conclude that either (or both):

- the world of photojournalism is populated largely with sociopaths
- this is actually pretty hard

The first is actually the tack taken all too often. Souvid Datta is just a bad seed, he's just evil. So is Steve McCurry. So is Hossein Fatemi. And Giovanni Troilo. And Paul Hansen. And. And. Golly, this list is getting pretty long. But, since it's "easy" and it's just your character coming through, the only explanation is that these guys are all just Bad People.


Well, I wouldn't malign anybody not a politician that easily, even obliquely, and especially not in public. I'd also draw a distinction between photojournalists whom I believe to be a dying breed, and the paparazzo pack which certainly appears to be a growing one. That the latter may be true is more a reflection of the market, of the people who buy the magazines that indulge in pix of starlets sans pants climbing clumsily out of low vehicles. That those climbers exists is no surprise: money corrupts, as does the quest for it, and when your looks are your only value, you gotta work fast before you lose 'em. So you see, the old Hollywood star system wasn't so bad after all: fresh meat counted, but you'd have been slung out on your ear for getting that sort of news coverage, not that Photoplay would have used it, but others would. I can imagine Hedda Hopper, Louella Parsons and Walter Winchell all having a synchronised seizure had they had to print such stuff. Of course shit went down, but in private, to surface years and years later in biographies.

Anyway, it's bad policy to take a few rotten apples and characterise an entire family of fruit as spoiled.

Of course, if you want to venture into the world of "art" photography, then you may have a point of sorts; I have no love for sacrilege in a tank of urine, whether or not I believe in a specific religion. Sexual perversions are not my bag either, and depictions of same neither. So really, I have quite an easy time of it in these matters: if it's beautiful, then I shall probably enjoy looking at it, and at the very least, won't feel offended. So yeah, it probably is just "your character coming through".

But if we are to play a version of the blame game, I'd level my shotgun at the Photoshop-mad PR people that have created the situation where actors/actresses are dehumanised and turned to wax. Who remembers any of those cover shots after ten minutes? Who, who has seen them, will ever forget the many (Magnum) Marilyn shots on the set of The Misfits, or in Avedon's studio at the end of a session when the psychological armour of the acting veil fell down, and she was revealed open, vulnerable and just a woman in distress in a world that was eating her alive?

Some pictures can be tough, cruel even, but they can show beauty at the same time.

Rob
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 04:05:34 PM by Rob C »
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amolitor

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Re: New Article - Ethical Photography: Where Do We Go From Here?
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2017, 04:45:43 PM »

But Rob, it's not just a few bad apples. It's a huge percentage of the population that has difficulty. Google "world press photo scandal" and jump back in amazement, it turns out that "World Press Photo" is synonymous with scandal, with prize-winners being turfed out constantly, with finalists being disqualified in huge swathes literally every year, and so on. Similar problems exist in other areas, everything from unsavory accusations in fashion work to professional baby photographers accused of using unsafe practices.

When experts in the field say they have trouble with it sometimes, and when loads of others from  amateurs to experts seem to demonstrably have trouble doing it, isn't that pretty much the definition of "it's hard"? (this is true regardless of what  "it" is)

And if it's hard, does it not behoove us (if we deem it important), to make some effort to help people be better at it?
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