Better know your ethics

Photojournalists are sometimes forced to complete work or projects that are, to say the least, messed up. Crisis and conflict photography, although gruesome, is needed to tell the stories of the people involved through dramatic and moving images. In order to document these stories with as little involvement as possible by the photographer, a delicate balance of ethics must be kept. This is demonstrated in Isabel Wilkerson’s section of the book where she stated, “Caring about our subjects without sacrificing our narratives, while caring about our narratives without sacrificing our subjects.” When dealing with delicate situations or subjects, I think it’s important to keep one thing in mind as a photographer: Just because I can take the photo, doesn’t mean I should. There is a line that if crossed, we are sometimesĀ forced to intervene and play the role of a human being rather than a journalist. This was demonstrated strongly in the recent Boston Marathon bombings. In a video that went viral on the internet, a couple of photographers were seen removing a massive amount of barricades that were tangled up around a person lying on the ground trying to get out. This was a situation where the photographers knew they needed to put down their cameras and help another human being.

All in all the great ethical structure is unique and lies within each individual reporter. The line they cross when confronted with a dangerous situation may be to protect them, their subject, or to not act at all. I don’t think it matters what kind of ethical codes a journalist has, just as long as they have some that they actively practice and live by when out in the field.



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