Informing Contexts - Sprawling on a pin
I for one have grown up with Nat Geo on the table, it was I guess pretty instrumental in my interest in all things flora and fauna as well as my interest in other cultures. Without the internet as we have to today, there weren’t many forms of alternating opinions to go to, at least when you Google you have plenty to choose from. My formed ideas when you talk about people of the Amazon are subliminal pre planted ideas I grew up seeing. So expanding the topic of ethics in photography to photo manipulation, all of my images apart from family snaps are post processed.. How much manipulation should be allowed and what are the limits? Some will argue that photographs should never be altered in any way and that they should retain their originality. Some even argue that cropping should be a prohibited practice. On the other side of the extreme, we’ve got people who take no shame in severely manipulating images like myself, sometimes in order to influence people’s minds, alter their perceptions or their opinions. Is there a sweet middle that satisfies photography ethics? I believe there is, but it is not an easy answer. We need to look at each photography genre in detail, and treat each different thing as such.
I often think should the photographer have to have the consent of the person they are photographing? If the person is not capable of giving their consent (if they do not speak the same language, or are injured for example, or even dead), is it appropriate to continue photographing? Do we think of repercussions of taking that shot?
If the person in the photograph is in obvious distress or danger, should the photographer put down the camera? Are there circumstances in which the photographer should provide help or assistance? If the photograph is taken after all these considerations, who will know if the photographer has thought it through? How will its future dissemination affect the people in the photograph?
© Jodie Bieber
But, even when best practice is followed to the letter, photographers might find their images take on other, unexpected forms. Jodi Bieber photographed Afghan women for a Time magazine article, and was aware of the power of her image of Bibi Aisha, whose nose and ears had been cut off by members of the Taliban as a punishment for fleeing her husband's home. I am sure she didn’t seek to produce a sensational image, and she has not been challenged or Time magazine for using the image of Aisha on its cover.