Tag: ethics

Rochester takes down another photojournalist

The annual winners of the prestigious photojournalism contests are starting to be announced. Another photojournalist has got himself stuck in a controversy, largely of his own making. One upside is that this is one of those old fashioned ethical controversies where digital image manipulation had NOTHING to do with it. One downside to commenting on that is that I have indirect ties to a few of the players so I might appear to have a conflict of interest. I also thought that those ties gave me an unusual position to speak from in terms of the controversy. Read More

War stories, part two

In the first part of this series of blog entries, I wrote about recent ethics controversies spurred by student photographers going to places like Haiti in order to develop their skills and their portfolios, as they photograph the horror of that nation’s earthquake/disaster. I appreciate the ethical issues raised by such actions, but my overarching question was, and still is, how do aspiring conflict photographers develop the skills required for covering war/disaster? In this blog entry, I will talk about how I developed my own, limited skills in that area of photojournalism and what I learned in the process of gaining those skills. Read More

Exploring our responsibility to the people we photograph (part four)

Patient readers of this blog will know this is the fourth (and last) entry in a series exploring the question, what is the photographer’s responsibility to the people they photograph? I have been muddling through these four essays because it is not an easy question to answer. Similarly, there is no magic bullet or one size fits all solution. The one thing I can say with complete certainty is that anyone who claims to have such a simple, crystal clear answer is oversimplifying, has never worked in the real world, is delusional or all of the above. Read More

Exploring our responsibility to the people we photograph (part three)

In between making a living and preparing for a big trip to India I have been mining my career (and my memory) as I consider the question, what is the photographer’s responsibility to the people they photograph? Answering that question has been (and will continue to be) a work in progress for me over my entire career. I can think of a few points where I got that balance closer to right and a couple where I am less sure that I did that. Read More

Exploring our responsibility to the people we photograph (part two)

In the last (and the next) few blog posts, I am exploring the question, what is the photographer’s responsibility to the people they are photographing? On one level this is an intensely personal decision that is best answered after an equally intensely process of decision-making. On the other hand, it has to be guided by some larger philosophical framework. If that sounds like an ethical dilemma, I think it is. Because I am slightly closer to the end of that long process rather than the beginning, I can identify and share some of the milestones of my own journey. Read More

Exploring our responsibility to the people we photograph (part one)

A photographer/friend wrote me with an excellent question, one that I now realize that I have been struggling with over my entire career as a photographer/photojournalist. In order to answer him coherently I needed to do what I have been doing in so many recent blog entries. That is, taking the question, rolling it around in my head, mining my life’s experience, making some half-baked notes and then asking him (and myself) more questions. Although I have the outlines of an answer, I have no idea exactly where this series of blog entries will go by the time it is it is finished. The one thing I am sure of is that it will take me a few postings to both think through my answer and to make it coherent enough for others to understand. Read More

Teaching mastery, ethics and excellence, in business and/or photography.

I was discussing ethics and publication photography with a friend. We were e-mailing back and forth in the wake of the recent news of how the New York Times Magazine photos that were not supposed to be “photoshop-ped” actually were. He was joking that the only thing left was to ban digital cameras and force publication photographers back to using film. After laughing at the thought, we agreed that even that drastic a step would not make a difference. The history of photography is full of folks who exploited film’s perceived documentary nature to their own advantage. Read More

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