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Author Topic: Forbidden Photos  (Read 8641 times)
avalon
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« on: September 26, 2005, 12:50:32 PM »
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This falls more under ethics than esthetics but it is closely tied in with location so...

When you as a photographer have your camera with you and you witness an event in public that could put the health of your photography equipment at risk if you shoot it, what do you do? Do you attempt to take the photo and hope nobody notices, risking your gear? If you do, do you ever publish the photos you get away with? Do you encourage others?

In some countries the authorities do not like certain events to be photographed because they try to convey an image that such events do not exist in their country. Does a good photographer acquiesce their instinct to capture important moments to the will of the government or is there an unspoken obligation to record such moments because of it?
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howard smith
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2005, 01:53:44 PM »
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When you get into ethics, you will personal opinions.  There are no absolutes without getting into the taboo area of religion.  Don't forget, the person wishing you to not photograph soemthing may have ethical reasons as strong or stronger than you.  Just because the ethical reason is different from yours doesn't make it wrong (without getting into religion).

I do not feel obligated to photograph anything.  There are some things I will not photograph because of my ethics.
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2005, 03:14:56 PM »
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In some countries the authorities do not like certain events to be photographed because they try to convey an image that such events do not exist in their country. Does a good photographer acquiesce their instinct to capture important moments to the will of the government or is there an unspoken obligation to record such moments because of it?
If the law is set in a particular country as X, then it is inadvisable to break such law. Whether that is photography related, or not, you are subject to the law of the country in which you are taking pictures. Therefore, if you take a picture which is against the law you can expect to end up in prison or worse.

Secondly, the rule of law doesn't always prevail in all countries. In such situations good common sense is required. Good local knowledge, or a competent guide/fixer, is required in certain countries to ensure that you don't end up getting on the wrong side of those with the power.

At the end of the day there is no point attempting to capture a picture that either looses your equipment, or worse, looses you your life.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2005, 03:33:27 PM »
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Do you attempt to take the photo and hope nobody notices, risking your gear?
You don't give examples, but I suspect that, in the sorts of situations you have in mind, one's personal safety may be at risk, let alone the camera equipment.

Everyone takes photographs for different reasons.  If you want to use your photos to expose a perceived injustice or wrong-doing, that's your choice.  If someone else doesn't want to, that is also their choice.  There's no "obligation" either way.

Paul
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Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2005, 07:37:39 PM »
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If you see someone drowning, do you take a picture or help?

Kind of the same question, but different emphasis. I guess it will be a personal response and why you are there - are you a tourist or journalist. There is no correct answer. Maybe no answer at all because there can be so many mitigating or militating circumstances.
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gr82bart
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2005, 12:18:10 PM »
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I can only counsel that if it feels wrong to you, then I wouldn't do it. But, as others have pointed out, it's a personal choice to a degree and also a bit on how well you can read the situation you are in.

For example, I hate paparazzi photographers. I think they are scum. Then again, I see how many tabloids are sold and I wonder if they are? I mean they are feeding a market, so who am I to say what they are doing is unethical? I still think so.

Not an easy issue and in the end only you will be answering to Big Guy/Gal.

Regards, Art.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2005, 12:18:23 PM by gr82bart » Logged

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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2006, 02:03:44 AM »
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When you as a photographer have your camera with you and you witness an event in public that could put the health of your photography equipment at risk if you shoot it, what do you do? Do you attempt to take the photo and hope nobody notices, risking your gear? If you do, do you ever publish the photos you get away with? Do you encourage others?

In some countries the authorities do not like certain events to be photographed because they try to convey an image that such events do not exist in their country. Does a good photographer acquiesce their instinct to capture important moments to the will of the government or is there an unspoken obligation to record such moments because of it?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=49927\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Many influential images of the 20th century would not have existed had the PJs decided to put their own safety, or the fact of respecting rules, as the nb 1 priority.

Besides a set of rationales related to fame and money, I believe that most of these PJs were doing it because they knew that these images could potentially have an impact on the populations, and change the course of things, hopefully for this something once known as "the better".

What "the better" is appears to be more and more fuzzy though...

Regards,
Bernard
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Orgnoi1
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2006, 05:47:45 PM »
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It really depends on your motivation as a photographer. If you are a working pro in journalism then you may be forced to take some pictures that may put you or your gear in some form of risk. If you are taking pictures for yourself of the same situation, then sometimes your personal safety and the risk of your gear being damaged or taken may overtake the need for the photograph. Its called "risk assessment" and we all do it every day.

Also... remember... that one that wins, is the one most committed to the cause...LOL
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John Camp
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2006, 08:47:10 PM »
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A couple of questions: would you have shot Rodney King being beaten by LA cops if you'd known you could do it safely? Would you have made the photos if you'd known that King was no more than bruised and your photos would, after processing through the media, result in the LA riots in which millions of dollars in property was destroyed and several innocent people were killed?

As one of my least favorite presidents once commented, important questions may have simple answers, but not necessarily easy ones. Whether or not to take a photo is not necessarily an easy question.

For example, would you risk yourself, even a little, to take a picture of a Russian soldier beating or killing a Chechen, if it wouldn't make any difference to anyone one way or the other? I mean, if you could show it to the Washington Post or Newsweek and they'd believe you, but just blow it off as insignificant (as "not news")? One of the realities of some third world nations is that photography simply won't make a difference; and if it won't, should you take a risk to do it?

The answer, I guess, is "sometimes." One of the reasons the brutal effort at genocide by the Hutu  against the Tutsi in Rwanda got as far as it did was for lack of the kind of documentation that would have so enraged people in certain nations (like France) that the country's politicians would have felt obliged to put a stop to it. Might even have been possible to do that kind of photo documentation, if anyone had been interested before it was too late...

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't believe you'll find a good answer to this question on a photo forum.

JC
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larryg
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2006, 09:09:49 AM »
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This discussion reminded me of when I was on a trip to cuba, looking for quaint images of a fishing village.   My friend and I hired a cab  (Pinar Del Rio area) to take us to the coast and a fishing village etc.

He drove about a $100 worth and dropped us off (he was going to wait for us) at the shore.  We noticed some old boats down the shoreline and started walking down the shore to see what we could find.  Before we were able to set up anything we heard the driver behind us yelling something and turned around to see him waving his arms and saying no no no.

Anyway I now understand that it is illegal to take photos of harbors in Cuba, can't understand why???  

While I might have gotten a quaint image of some old rust bucket I also could have been arrested and lost all my camera equipment or more?

Probably would be prudent to know the rules and stay within the limits given
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