Friday, 13 January 2012

The photographer's responsibility


"It is the duty of contemporary photographers to question continually what they are looking at, and why it is appropriate to permit others to look too." An excellent quote from a very thought-provoking article on the BBC website. The article is by Max Houghton, course leader in MA Photojournalism at the University of Westminster - here is a link to the full article which I expect to read again more than once

I sometimes take pictures, in the street and elsewhere, and struggle to decide whether it is right to share them. Where does observation, with maybe a little humourous undertone, shade into unkindness or just a cheap recycling of stereotypes? I took the picture above a few months ago but haven't posted until now. Still not sure whether it is right to do so.


  1. Yes an interesting article...and it gives you the impression the tabloids are desperate to keep hold of a diminishing circulation whatever the cost...which sadly means they are unlikely to pull their ethical socks up, despite the Leveson Enquiry.

    On the SPN project, as you are probably aware, the ethics was talked about alot. And generally poking fun at people's misfortune whether homeless, disadvantaged or otherwise was generally a 'no go'...which I was actually very encouraged by at the time...the street photography genre does have a strong code of ethics unlike the paparazzi.

    With regards the above picture, from here it looks like you're highlighting the 'doubles' and juxtapositions thereof. Their faces are not shown and I am not getting the feeling your intention from this image was to make fun of anyone. So personally, I can't see you upsetting anyone.

    I read a few interesting blog posts about 'photography porn' which you may find of interest.

  2. Eileen, i've never known you to take a picture that would show any one in a negative light, that was not already doing it in a public manner and not afraid to be seen doing so, or having it publicised (rallies and demonstrations). I've always found your pictures, and attitude to life and other people in general, to be extremely caring.

    Regards the picture above - i see nothing wrong with it. An accurate depiction of a normal scene in a certain part of Bognor - or many other towns for that matter. For a person with quite a wide humour spectrum, i didn't see anything humurous in the picture, or anything negative about any of the subjects. I just saw a picture depicting street life with a good composition.