So initially thinking about my research project I have decided to look into an area of photography which has interested me more than others, I am thinking of looking into Documentary, after time thinking about some of my favourite photographers such as Larry Burrows, James Nachtwey and Don McCullin I was drawn to thinking more about theirs and other images which stick in my memory, the images that I could remember were the ones with seemed the most controversial the most striking, id say most people could pick one striking photograph from a Natural disaster, War Zone or a place of unrest after looking at these types photographs i have decide to look a bit deeper into the moral and ethical challenges facing a photographer. Since deciding to look at this area i have found some short extracts based around the ethics and morals of image making.
Photojournalism – The Professionals Approach – Kenneth Kobre
The first extract i have taken was a simple outline of the choice posed to a photographer at the point of creating images.
The Dilemma – Personal Choice Vs Professional Responsibility – This is not unique E.g the defender who is charged to defend a rapist whom he knows is guilty Or the doctor who has the training an resources to artificially prolong the life of a suffering patient
One of the first extracts I found was based around an ethical framework which photographers turn to when faced in challenging situation.
Foundations of Ethical Decision Making
Utilitarian – here the overriding consideration is “The greatest good for the greatest number of people” The Utilitarian approach recognises that photojournalism provides information critical to a democratic society, photography mite show the horrors of war, Accident and the hardship of poverty, therefore it is right to take and publish the images, without images specifically voters cannot make informed decisions E.g A photograph of a vehicle accident may force voters to pass a law making compulsory air bag use.
Absolutist – The absolutist viewpoint is that of “Individuals have certain rights” among them the right to privacy , these rights are absolute regardless of the benefit to society says this principle.taking a picture of the distraught family of a drowned child and then publishing it my encourage others to be more cautious, but invading the privacy of their grief regardless of the benefits is not acceptable according to the absolute rights argument.
The Golden Rule – Another of the ethical cornerstones is the Judeo-Christian precept “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” this rule too can sometimes conflict both with professional standards and with actions that mite benefit a democratic society in need of information.
Compassion, Morality and The Media – Compassion fatigue and the ethics of the journalistic field – Keith Tester
Alasdiar Macintyre – The field is the terrain of the photographers and reporters insofar as their professional character is determined by it, they will become possessed of an habitual disposition to act in one way as opposed to any other. For example the photographer will become disposed towards making the images which represent what has happened without worrying about the question of whether or not it may have been more appropriate to have intervened rather than have just pressed the shutter .
Media, Culture and Morality – The Media and Morality – Keith Tester
“Here I am using the word ‘Moral’ in a philosophical sense. With the word I am referring to the ways in which we distinguish between conduct that is right and wrong; how it is that we act and think in accordance with principles of the right and the wrong”
” The media are important channels through which individuals and audiences become aware of what is said to be right and wrong”
Michael Ignatieff – The images we see on the television screen are incapable of asserting anything, they contain no moral message except the moral message we choose to take from them.