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1 - Photography Ethics

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by

Jenny Chan

on 23 August 2013

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Transcript of 1 - Photography Ethics

1 - Photography Ethics
Respect for Photographers
"All too often magazines and newspapers do not show any respect for pictures. Instead, they cut them or print wording over them. Please insist that art directors should not alter pictures. I can assure you that I have seen some havoc played in recent publications capable of damaging the form and the contents of my photographs sufficiently to deprive them of their very essence. I do realise that my photographs provide ample surfaces on which art directors feel entitled to write. In actual fact, these areas are part of a single great idea, which is what gives rise to each single photograph. It is obvious that adding wording means altering this area, depriving the picture of its effectiveness and of its atmosphere. Please therefore ask editors and art directors explicitly to respect the photographer's ideas and his pictures in their integrity.“
This note accompanies every photographic report by Anthony Suau, Time's Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist who lives partly in Paris and partly in Moscow.
Over the past 9 years he has been busy documenting the changes taking place throughout Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall came down.
His note led to perplexity, diffidence and irony in the editorial offices of the newspapers.
The Power of Photography
The camera is a different tool from a pen.
It can be used to produce an instantaneous masterpiece, to upset society with a scoop, to amaze people with something new.
Each of us reacts to the picture on the basis of our own sensitivity, culture, intelligence, mood and passion.
The interpretation of one and the same photograph will be different at different times.
A photograph produced today will offer a different impact tomorrow.
Even the place where the photograph is seen can dictate our reactions.
Ethics
Being ethical is not a matter of following one's feelings.
Feelings frequently deviate from what is ethical.
Why is Photography Ethics Important?
Photographers abroad have an ethical responsibility to preserve the dignity of their subjects and provide a faithful, comprehensive visual depiction of their surroundings so as to avoid causing public misperceptions.
People often formulate their opinions, judgments, and behaviours in response to visual stimuli.
Photographers’ decisions about how to depict their subjects can entirely alter viewers’ perceptions.
Before Photographing
Always get the subject’s consent first, especially if you want to do a close-up.
Examine your motives for shooting a particular frame.
It is not acceptable to use the photographs simply to harness pity.
You should not bribe subjects to feign despair, anger, or other emotions, or seek to influence the “slant” of your photos in any way.
Think about what you want to portray in your photo..
Never portray your subjects as useless or inadequate.
While Photographing
Sometimes, it works well to photograph subjects from behind so that only their activities, and not their faces, can be seen.
This prevents the subject from getting distracted and protects his or her privacy.
Be humble, considerate and respectful, especially during private moments of grief.
Build a relationship of mutual understanding with your subject.
After Photographing
Don’t stereotype or make false generalizations.
Use captions to contextualize visual images.
Photos should be used to raise public awareness, not to exploit public sympathy.
Guide Chart
Exercise 1
Mr. S is not the designated official photographer for a private event.
He sneaked into the event grounds when the guards’ backs were turned.
He posted his photographs of the event on his personal blog.
Do the organizers have the rights to sue?
Photo Editing
Photos must be carefully and faithfully edited, if really needed.
There should be minimal digital manipulation and no fancy embellishments to avoid misrepresentation.
Ensure that your photos document what you believe is the real situation of your subjects.
Phototruth
Photographs were always thought to be that which most accurately represented reality.
The new digital technologies continue to revolutionize all mass media.
The public has lost any feeling of trustworthiness in the media and at some point it may no longer exist.
It is fine to change a picture as long as the image means what it says and the reader is not tricked.
Safe Editing
In photojournalism, the following are allowed:
Lighten.
Darken.
Sharpen.
Crop the image.
Resize the image.
Example 1
Extracted from http://agbeat.com/real-estate-sales-marketing/real-estate-photography-editing-is-it-unethical/
Example 2
Extracted from: http://www.fourandsix.com/photo-tampering-history/
Photographers’ Code of Ethics
Strive to present all photographic services in a manner which reflects the highest levels of professionalism.
Use the highest levels of honesty, professionalism and integrity.
Do not use any marketing or competitive practice which violates any Federal Trade Commission, or other regulatory agency rule or regulation, or statute or any decision of any court.
In all dealing with fellow professional photographers, students and others who aspire to be professional photographers, share the knowledge and skill of professional photography.
Support efforts for and assist in the education of all interested persons the general public in the art and science of professional photography.
Exercise 2
Mr. L is a photojournalist sent to cover the war in Thailand.
One day, Mr. L came across the dead body of a child, lying on its stomach.
The face of the child was hidden in the ground.
Mr. L flipped the body over and took a picture of it.
He sent it to his editor, and the picture was printed on the cover of the magazine.
What, if anything, is wrong in the situation above?
Photography Etiquette
If you are rude or cause problems at an event you can lose your opportunity to take images there ever again, if you aren't thrown out immediately.
A large part of photography is knowing what choices to make in each situation.
Exercise 3
Ms. K works for a newspaper.
As she was driving to work one morning, two cars collided with each other.
There were no other cars around on the road at that time.
Ms. K got out of her car with her camera.
One of the accident victims whispered to her to call for an ambulance.
If you are Ms. K, would you call for help first, or take the shot first?
General Etiquette
Do not block someone else's view of the event.
Never be rude.
Do not put yourself or anyone else in danger by your actions.
Do not expect special treatment (it is wonderful to get backstage access but it is not a right).
Ask ahead of time for permission.
Do not get in the way of the professional / official photographer.
Example 3
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