Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Last month we discussed when it was appropriate to stop taking photos - the general thoughts were mixed. A lot of you thought that photography at concerts, even if the concert organisers banned it, was completely reasonable. Others suggested that rules were made to be kept. All in all, an interesting response. Moving on with the discussion, this month we're looking at the boundaries with Photo-journalism and whether there actually are any in your eyes?

Do you think that when faced with a delicate situation - a polictical protest with multiple injured persons, war, natural disasters - or other scenarios where people are hurt, dying or dead - do you think that we should stop photographing? Or should the camera keep rolling in order to capture atrocities? Would you stop to help, rather than shoot? Would you stop shooting if an injured person begged you to? What about if you were being threatened - where do your loyalties lie then?

It's an interesting topic for sure, and one that nearly always throws up controversy, debates and discussion each time a controversial or 'different' image is taken and circulated. What images can you think of that have sparked controversy either globally, or just in your personal opinion? This month we've talked to 1pen, the CV for Photo-journalism here on deviantART - to get her views...


 1pen
:icon1pen:


"Sometimes when we look at a photo we forget to add another person to it and that's the photographer. Every photo has this invisible person who was there living, breathing, witnessing, and experiencing exactly what you're looking at (including horror and tragedy, including smells and sounds and sensations you see but don't experience through a photograph the way the photographer and subject did at the time the photograph was taken). This is photojournalism. It covers the world. It covers diverse peoples, cultures, events, political or religious issues, and even rival sports teams. Both the subject in front of the camera and behind it can come from anywhere. And they are real.

I often advise people when I post controversial DDs that feature tragedy to not make the mistake of thinking the photographer was or still is immune. We're tough, but we're not made of stone and many of us have scars, physical and emotional, as well as opinions about the subject matter just like anybody else. And it's no secret in the media that many photojournalists suffer and are killed just as the people they are documenting are (though sadly, and ironically, and probably in a manner that would madden the photojournalist in question, their death gets more ink in a paper than the subject they were covering did). Photojournalism is home to some of the most dangerous (and important) images and many photographers are willing to die to get them and get them out.

Repatriation Essay by contains-mild-peril


You can debate the ethics all you want, but you should also consider the ethics of keeping quiet.

If you have the gift and opportunity to tell the story, do you or do you not have the obligation to do so?

Photographers and artists have a job to do, a story to tell, and many of us are not uncaring insensitive robots when the photos we take happen to be controversial or uncomfortable, in fact, that might be the whole point. We want you to feel about it. We want to get you talking. Maybe you weren't there, but we were and this is what we saw. This is what you missed and it's important. That's the purpose of news. That's the purpose of photojournalism.

Final Goodbye by contains-mild-peril


I know that as a sports photographer I am not immune to this question either. I have seen some pretty horrific accidents and deaths and have had to make that decision whether to release the shutter or not. Truth is, I usually do, because I feel that responsibility, that obligation to tell the ugly parts as much as the beautiful parts. It hits me hard since I've been working with some athletes for years and they are my friends and family. It's a really awful sensation to realize the blood in your photo is that of a talented kid who will never play the game again. I've lost plenty of sleep over the things I've seen and the photographs I've taken. I balance it though by being very close to the athletes and crews and I consult with them about what they're comfortable with when I can. I weigh the privacy and rights of my subjects against the need for the information to be discussed publicly. There is no right or wrong answer. No definite one at least. Every situation is unique and needs to be treated that way. Photojournalists who respect their subject...it often shows in their pictures, I think. You can just tell sometimes. You can see the difference between a paparazzi-like shot, a disrespectful shot, and a journalistic shot. I think people instinctively know when they're being respected or being taken advantage of.



A recent sporting accident I witnessed took place at my feet. The workers trying to resuscitate the athlete screamed at the crowd of bystanders holding their cellphones up in the air to leave them alone, to respect the situation. No one screamed at me. Why? I honestly think it was because I was crying. I was doing my job, but I was sobbing the entire time. I care about the people I work with and the subjects I cover, and I'm going to face and make those ethical decisions to the best of my ability. I respect them and it's probably why I am often respected in turn. I never get in the way of emergency crew and I feel like I instinctively know when a shot is inappropriate. I wish I could provide specifics, but there just aren't any. I think it just comes with experience.

BP Protest 2 by jeannewilson


Honestly, I find the people who go "OMG I would run and help that guy!" have never actually been put in that situation, and aren't professional photojournalists or combat cams or doctors or emergency workers who've already been through that gauntlet more times than they can count and who shudder when they try to count them. You can theorize your actions, but you don't really know how you'll react the first time you're the one in middle of that awful experiment. So many people jumped on the photographer who took the photograph of the man who was hit by the subway train, but no one seemed to notice the crowd of bystanders who did nothing help that man also captured in that picture. You don't know what you'll do until you're there. For all you know the photographer was doing the only thing available to him from that distance: to freeze time.

The Face Of Grief by Kaz-D


And that frozen moment can become a powerful tool.

Having a photograph of a kid's bones being crushed by another player can become a powerful tool for change within a sport, for increased safety measures, or better equipment. Yes, photos like that, or like the photo of the runner missing his legs from the Boston Marathon Bombing or the man about to be hit by a train in the New York Subway, raise questions about ethics within photography, but more importantly they raise questions about humanity. About where we came from, where we are, and where we are going. And for many photojournalists that's worth releasing a shutter for."

A Kiss from a Fairy Princess by periwinklepaints


This month we're talking about Photo-journalism, and what the written and unwritten rules are (if any) in your thoughts. We've talked to ^1pen to get her view and we ask you to respond with yours. Please :+fav: if you enjoyed the discussion!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconbwphotographry:
BWPhotographry Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Professional Photographer
And anyway as a photographic journalist it is up to the editoral staff to decided what they want and dont want we are there to shoot. (sorry for double posting)
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:nod: :)
Reply
:iconbwphotographry:
BWPhotographry Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Professional Photographer
I would stop because as well as the occasional free lance jobs i am a lifeguard so if some ones life is in danger i am trained to help them out.
Reply
:iconnattygrego:
Nattygrego Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks to both of you for this excellent piece of article !!
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:heart:
Reply
:iconjennystokes:
jennystokes Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yes!
I think it is up to everyone to record events that are happening, this is History in the making.
This does not mean that a person cannot help people too.
I difintely would not stick a camera in a wounded persons face..........neither would I climb walls, hassle people at gates of 'Stars' houses.
The biggest problem I have is photographing children in a Journalist way.
Many Country's their citizens go nuts if you 'shoot' their kid..........luckily I live in France where they actually like it.
Having said this, I always give people my card so that they can write to me and tell me if they do not want a particular pic. on my site.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Good thinking :nod:
That's a great idea to give people your card too - gives them a bit of choice too :)
Reply
:iconjennystokes:
jennystokes Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yes.
It really helps.
:)
Reply
:iconsweetfragnance:
sweetfragnance Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013
A very interesting journal!
Really makes you think

Thank you :)
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for reading! :)
Reply
:iconserel:
serel Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer

A great and profound journal! It really makes you think about the matter. I personally believe that, in general, photo journalism is a good thing. Sometimes I probably wouldn't want to see pictures,but in many cases it's important to know what's going on, it's important to know that there are sides of humanity we can't be proud of.

Of course it's a fine line between documentary and downright voyeurism, but I just hope that a photographer will stop taking pictures if he or she is the only one beeing able to help the victim. But as long as others are there helping, as long as the victim is respected and the photographer doesn't stand in the way it's a good thing.

Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for commenting :)
Great view to have - it is important to know, wouldn't it be scary if we didn't know the things we do - and they were just happening anyway! :fear:
Reply
:icontanikel:
tanikel Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013   Photographer
I absolutely agree with 1pen (as always, you mind reader :shakefish:). 

I've had to document some horrific things downrange.  It's hard to explain, but having the camera between myself and the action helps me concentrate not on the blood and the screams, but on keeping the imagery flowing.  At first, the guys hated me for documenting the recovery that day.  Once everything calmed down and they saw exactly what it was used for, they were grateful and they finally understood why 'that camera female' was integrated with the cav scouts and the infantry.  It hard and it sucks.  If there's only a handful of us on the injured, I'll jump in.  If there's more than enough giving aid and pulling security, I'm in the background filming or photographing.

 The most important part of photojournalism, in my opinion, is staying out of the way while you're documenting. 
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Haha isn't she brilliant:D

Hmm that's a very good view to take :nod: no pun intended. I guess it acts as a shield, in some respects.
Reply
:icontanikel:
tanikel Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013   Photographer
She is! 

It's something that they warn us about in school, but helpful in some cases.  I usually pass out at the sight of blood, but having the camera between me and that stops that embarrassment from happening.  :giggle:
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Photojournalism is pure awesomeness, it captures the essence of a situation without using controlled environment and i believe this is the hardest thing to do in photography. Photojournalists have all my respect! :clap:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:nod: Mine too :)
Reply
:iconragnar949:
Ragnar949 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
I've been all over the map on this one.  I think everyone has their own limits.  Whatever those limits are for you, I have no problem with.  For me when the pain of an individual (the subject) can be amplified by my actions, I stop.  I believe in "causing no harm."  When it comes to broad subjects like war, poverty, etc.  Those images need to seen to remind people.  I've always remember the line from the Phil Ochs song "Crucifixion."   "...and do you have a picture of the pain."  There is a point where the photographer becomes more important than the subject and the message.  There is a fine line separating it and it's different for everyone.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
That's a good mentality :nod:
Reply
:iconorchideacae:
Orchideacae Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I was watching "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding", and there was a poster- of a photographer and a militiaman. The militiaman was pointing a gun at the photographer,and the photographer had his camera focused on the militiaman.

The poster said,I don't remember exactly, "One of these men protects your freedom".

Photo-journalism rules,because what you can't put up in a million words, you can express with one snap of your camera.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Very profound :)
Reply
:iconrhynwilliams:
RhynWilliams Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013   Traditional Artist
what a powerful journal, and its true most people stand by and dont do anything, its disturbing.. i think being a true photo journalist is very important because companies like bbc censor most things that happen and are controlled to such a degree where things just dont add up, not capturing a historical event will distort our understanding now and in the future
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:nod: I agree with you, photo-journalism captures the truth - if they weren't there, we wouldn't know half of what was going on. :!
Reply
:iconrhynwilliams:
RhynWilliams Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013   Traditional Artist
thats why social networking is important :hug:
Reply
:iconsomni-ferum:
somni-ferum Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Professional Photographer
I agree with 1Pen completely. I've been a photojournalist in the past and while I've never been posted to a war-zone - came close twice - it is our duty to capture these situations so that people know what is happening. It can be tough sometimes, but as long as we remain professional and human at the same time as well as listening to our gut, we can make a difference.

On a slightly related topic, but a little off track - people ask me all the time how can you remain focused and get great shots of a beautiful nude woman without getting turned on. I am a red-blooded man after all and naturally get turned on by 'feminine beauty' but when I'm shooting it's all about capturing something beautiful, a certain part of the brain just switches to the background and is replaced with the need to snap beautiful photos. The humanity is still there though and I naturally I'm always aware that I am shooting a human being and even try to exploit that fact in order to bring the humanity and emotions out in the model or muse. I think the same goes for photographing human tragedies.

Just my two-cents.

Thanks for bringing his up, it's a great topic. 
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I think the same :nod:

People ask things like that a lot - I once took some shots for a local butcher -people asked how i could photograph dead animals like that! Just because!

It is a great topic isn't it :)
Reply
:iconsomni-ferum:
somni-ferum Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Professional Photographer
Great topic indeed! I suppose non-photgraphers ie. those with a passion for it, find it hard to understand our process sometimes and how we can find the beauty in things that people normally wouldn't find beauty in.
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:iconkaz-d: More from Kaz-D


Featured in Collections

News I Support by namenotrequired

JOURNALS AND NEWS by Elandria

Journals and News Articles by bradleysays


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
October 4, 2013
Submitted with
Sta.sh Writer
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
1,879
Favourites
19 (who?)
Comments
27
×