Informing Contexts, Ethics

I think to start with I must say I am not deluded or led a sheltered life but on the other hand, refuse to have constant distressing images thrown at me on a daily basis especially when there is not a thing I can do about it. This last presentation should have come with a warning, it was full of distressing images and I don’t always lock myself away in another room. Even drawing awareness has no effect as unless you are a member of a government in a position to make a change then the soldiers and people are powerless.

I believe that from the beginning of time, even with early religious paintings, stories have been told in the attempt to warn, educate and dissuade people from events or actions and yet we still fight over religion or land, even cavemen would warn against the sabre tooth tiger, it didn’t stop early man from trying to capture or hunt them.

How many years has comic relief been raising money for other countries and they, apart from having water well or a roof, are still in a poverty situation and year after year we see images of starving kids to raise money. And it doesn’t matter how many children you see with bruises or neglected, you cannot educate some people as they are sick.

So should we keep plastering our worlds with negativity for the next generation to become desensitised, which they are becoming? The kids actually have groups on social media where they compete to find the most shocking images.

The issue of violence is already a tough topic for people to listen to or want to talk about. Why? Because we are bombarded with gruesome images day in and day out. From little uns on up, what we see in the media, in movies, on the Internet, on television and the increasing number of so-called “games” is making many numb to it all. Do we turn a blind eye to most of it now? Do we focus our attention on cancer research and treatments or other diseases that are easier in terms of understanding and stigma? Cancer is an incredibly important issue, like many others dealing with life-threatening and physically crippling results. Yet violence and abuse is a global epidemic that can cause the same results: life-threatening, physical and emotionally crippling. It is all over the media about the effects of uncensored images for teens and the rise in self-harm and suicide.

Survivors know the realities of violence, abuse, neglect, and trauma and know that it is anything but a “game”. But society as a whole seems to be forgetting about them and about the help and support they need to get well not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. How comfortably numb are we becoming to violence, abuse and emotional trauma?

Several studies have shown that in the long run, habitual exposure to media violence may reduce anxious arousal in response to depictions of violence. Research has found that the more time individuals spent watching violent media depictions, the less emotionally responsive they became too violent stimuli. David reported that “Desensitisation is a well-known method of treatment for emotions that are too strong or too long-lasting to be easily coped with. The validity of the theory of desensitisation and its therapeutic efficacy has been amply supported by experimentation. There seems to be no reason why the concept of desensitisation should not also be applicable to the subject of violence.

Throughout the world civilised man has erected psychological barriers to the direct expression of violent impulses. Without these barriers, which include the experience of negative emotions such as horror, fear, disgust, we would be freer to express the violent urges, which we experience at various times in our life. On the assumption that a process of desensitisation can weaken internal barriers to the act of killing, the training of American troops includes the screening of battle films and massacres. In the same way, constant exposure to television violence may help to counteract the anxiety and guilt with which real-life violence is normally associated.

The research evidence indicates that the vicarious experience of violence does indeed reduce the intensity of the negative emotions which normally result, and also that it may be contributing to an apathetic attitude towards violence in society.” I have had kids that came to me playing Call of Duty for hours a day and I believe it has the same effect.

I found a good article here on ethics by Nasim Mansurov

Ethics is pretty much about the moral principles that people work with. Societies, countries, groups all have ways of deciding what is right and wrong. Being correct is all down to personal ethics and opinions, some people believe that you shouldn’t edit images. In my opinion, it depends on what the consumption is going to be. If it is a documentary then, in my opinion, it should be as seen, but in the name of creating a piece of artwork then play away! Only you can decide what is right and wrong. Should you take images of strangers and post derogatory remarks, or is that a different story? The use of personal phones is not helping with ethics as its all about recording moments, you can't do anything or see anything without people getting their phones out.

DAVID, B.A. Nias, M. Phil, Desensitisation and media violence, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 23, Issue 6, 1979, Pages 363-367,

MALSTROM J R, E. J., Koriat, A., & Lazarus, R. S. (1972). Habituation to complex emotional stimuli. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 80(1), 20-28.

#photographicethics #JRMalstrom #BADaviddesensitisation #informingcontexts

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