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Ethics...Subject matters with people you would not upload


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One of the thing I am still struggling after almost a year of stock world is my conscience on some subjects in image.¬† The whole reality is that once i upload an image, it is now there for everyone (except in RussiaūüėČ) to find, and after seeing Edo's post on his eventful day last week with two people taking in ambulance and where he ends with "No, I did not take pictures", i'm curious what are people general limits.

 

For example i generally try to avoid kids, except in majorly newsie situation or public display (folkloric shows, parades).  But now i have decent set of captures with kids interacting with 2 costumed mascots, one is a Sick Kid Fund mascot so i'm probably fine mentally, but the other one is just a public performer dressed up as a Panda, and i am struggling, even though the kids mom clearly saw me taking the shots....  

 

I see some of the News images of people at the beach, and i think i don't think i would have taken the shot, am I naive for thinking this?

 

What about if image can make someone look bad? I was just reviewing shots of an open film crew truck, and the image make it look as if the guy in truck is actually sleeping on the job.  so i right away dismissed it.... 

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We have only minimal control in the way our pix are used. I'm happy when I see my pix in the Guardian (a bit less happy when they turn up, say, in the Daily Mail). But this doesn't really alter the way I shoot.

 

When people are in-shot, my aim, generally, is not to make them look awkward or foolish. I avoid shooting kids. Not because of any traumatic event I've experienced... but just to avoid the possibility of a traumatic event! I do not want an argument with an angry mother.

 

In terms of blackening anyone's character, problems are more likely to arise with captions and tags (ie a man walking into a pub may not be going for a drink; he may be a teetotaller who's going inside to read the electric meter).

 

If we describe our pix accurately - without making too many assumptions - we can sleep easy...

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Small child with Mother, standing amidst seated crowd at religious ceremony known as Galungan. Sanur, Bali, Indonesia - Stock Image    young man tossing the sheaf - Stock Image    Two round haystacks decorated as pigs. - Stock Image   Child playing in water fountains in public open space near Cable Car station, Tung Chung, Lantau Island, Hong Kong, China - Stock Image   Young boy and his mother in traditional dress, about to embark on motorbike. Bali, Indonesia - Stock Image   Child placing Peace Poppy on War Memorial on Anzac Day. Guildford, Western Australia. - Stock Image

 

        Young girl with backpack. Mekong River in Cai Be, Tien Giang Province, Vietnam - Stock Image       A little girl dances on the street awaiting Festival of Fantasy Parade. Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World, Florida-dance like nobody's watching - Stock Image   Zombie Girl Scout in the inaugural Zombie Walk, Perth, Western Australia - Stock Image   Children at traditional Balinese dance school. Sanur, Bali, Indonesia. - Stock Image

 

 

 

      Guildford, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. 25th April, 2017. Man and child looking at floral wreaths during ANZAC Day service in Guildford, Western Australia.    Sheldon Levis/Alamy Live News - Stock Image   Guildford, Western Australia, Australia. 25th March, 2017. Local schoolchildren holding banners protesting at the proposed building of a McDonald's in their local community. Credit: Sheldon Levis/Alamy Live News - Stock Image   children watching trained monkey perform on beach. Bali, Indonesia - Stock Image   Young girl (2 years old) watching and copying older children at traditional Balinese dance school. Sanur, Bali, Indonesia. - Stock Image

 

 

I've never considered photos of kids as totally verbotten either here or overseas, but I am careful . . . my main rule when photographing kids is never, ever hide the fact. Never (as I have sometimes seen recommended here) photograph kids surreptitiously!
 
This "look, I'm a photographer and I'm not trying to sneak photos of you or your kids" approach is another reason my machine of choice is a big DSLR.
 
YEMV of course
 
DD
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Emu,

 

I think if you are asking yourself these questions you are going to be OK.

 

I've seen this question before and it made me consider how I would react to these, lets call them "opportunities".

  • I have only photographed one big issue seller and that was because he had gone contactless.
  • Ambulance pictures? If it would make a diiference and stop somebody getting in that position maybe, but probably not. It would have to generate the impact of a Don McCullin photo for me to take the picture. Anyway it would be on social media before I took the lens cap off.
  • Kids in a Carnival context, openly taking pictures, no problem.

James

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I ran into the same issue as Ed a few years ago (posted about it here as well I believe) of a woman being loaded into an air ambulance.  Just couldn't bring myself to take the pic.  Felt like I was invading her space.  Certainly would fail me as a photojournalist, but that one I just couldn't bring myself to take.

 

Jill

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5 hours ago, Jill Morgan said:

I ran into the same issue as Ed a few years ago (posted about it here as well I believe) of a woman being loaded into an air ambulance.  Just couldn't bring myself to take the pic.  Felt like I was invading her space.  Certainly would fail me as a photojournalist, but that one I just couldn't bring myself to take.

 

Jill

 

Fortunately, we have no boss telling us what we should or shouldn't do...

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With our privacy being assaulted from all directions these days, I put a lot more thought than I used to into including recognizable people in my images. You just never know where a photo is going to end up. I think a lot of photographers are feeling this way, which unfortunately doesn't bode well for traditional street photography. Regarding all the Alamy news images -- often not exactly flattering -- of people lounging on the beach, you don't see much of that type of imagery in Canada. I'd feel very uncomfortable being photographed surreptitiously at the beach, as I think most Canadians would. We must be a shy lot compared to Brits. ūüėÄ

Edited by John Mitchell
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Of course I know that there is a very dark side to photographs of children but I really don't see why we should be made to feel guilty by association just by being photographers ourselves. That is a good maxim about whether your extended family or friends would feel aggrieved if it was their children and I think I'm perfectly able to edit for uploading so that they would not be. I don't often do it anyway, from memory I have children dancing around a maypole at a village fete, children at a childrens' XR march, children playing on a beach as part of a general view etc.

 

However, I often don't take pictures that I would like to take because I don't want to get into a dialogue about why I might be wanting to take the pictures in the first place, which is a shame. I often pass a pretty Victorian village school where the children play on the common in front in bright red uniforms, it is an utterly charming scene but I don't stop to take it. I don't want to be that suspicious looking character with a big camera on the other side of the common. 

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3 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

Of course I know that there is a very dark side to photographs of children but I really don't see why we should be made to feel guilty by association just by being photographers ourselves. That is a good maxim about whether your extended family or friends would feel aggrieved if it was their children and I think I'm perfectly able to edit for uploading so that they would not be. I don't often do it anyway, from memory I have children dancing around a maypole at a village fete, children at a childrens' XR march, children playing on a beach as part of a general view etc.

 

However, I often don't take pictures that I would like to take because I don't want to get into a dialogue about why I might be wanting to take the pictures in the first place, which is a shame. I often pass a pretty Victorian village school where the children play on the common in front in bright red uniforms, it is an utterly charming scene but I don't stop to take it. I don't want to be that suspicious looking character with a big camera on the other side of the common. 

 

yes it is sad that this is where we have all gone.  I always try to make sure parents, guardians are around and see me if i take pictures.  

I remember a couple years ago i was taking pictures of house architecture in Wroclaw, Poland focusing on 2nd and 3rd floor.  In courtyard there was a group of kindergarden age kids playing, and one of the kid right away, in english, "No photo".  I guess they are thought to worry right away.... Of course i could show the teachers that there was no kids in my images, but it does make you self conscious.  

and that's on my camera, not on the Net..

 

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46 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

With our privacy being assaulted from all directions these days, I put a lot more thought than I used to into including recognizable people in my images. You just never know where a photo is going to end up. I think a lot of photographers are feeling this way, which unfortunately doesn't bode well for traditional street photography. Regarding all the Alamy news images -- often not exactly flattering -- of people lounging on the beach, you don't see much of that type of imagery in Canada. I'd feel very uncomfortable being photographed surreptitiously at the beach, as I think most Canadians would. We must be a shy lot compared to Brits. ūüėÄ

 

 

yeah.  this is a Canadian taking pictures of a UK beach:two-women-fully-clothed-lying-on-brightons-rocky-beach-with-the-pier-in-background-enjoying-the-sun-on-a-warm-autumn-day-WWHNAR.jpg

 

 

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I hope that this doesn't come across as pedantic but I don't think that this is about 'ethics' - just personal opinion. 

 

The word 'ethical' suggests that there is a right and a wrong. 

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11 hours ago, John Morrison said:

We have only minimal control in the way our pix are used. I'm happy when I see my pix in the Guardian (a bit less happy when they turn up, say, in the Daily Mail). But this doesn't really alter the way I shoot.

 

When people are in-shot, my aim, generally, is not to make them look awkward or foolish. I avoid shooting kids. Not because of any traumatic event I've experienced... but just to avoid the possibility of a traumatic event! I do not want an argument with an angry mother.

 

In terms of blackening anyone's character, problems are more likely to arise with captions and tags (ie a man walking into a pub may not be going for a drink; he may be a teetotaller who's going inside to read the electric meter).

 

If we describe our pix accurately - without making too many assumptions - we can sleep easy...

 

That's a valid point about captions and tags. However, you never know how the end-user might caption an image.

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11 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

I hope that this doesn't come across as pedantic but I don't think that this is about 'ethics' - just personal opinion. 

 

The word 'ethical' suggests that there is a right and a wrong. 

 

How about "personal ethics" rather than "ethics"?

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My personal ethics, and i have a friend who takes photos of everyone.  I don't take pictures of homeless people on the street.  They can't escape into a private space.  I take photos of children here in Nicaragua, with parental okay or I ask the child if relatively older.  Nobody seems to care here compared to what I've heard about the states.   I suspect it helps being female and grandmother aged.   I don't take photos that can get me shot.

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3 hours ago, MizBrown said:

My personal ethics, and i have a friend who takes photos of everyone.  I don't take pictures of homeless people on the street.  They can't escape into a private space.  I take photos of children here in Nicaragua, with parental okay or I ask the child if relatively older.  Nobody seems to care here compared to what I've heard about the states.   I suspect it helps being female and grandmother aged.   I don't take photos that can get me shot.

 

Interesting response. I've always felt comfortable photographing children in most Latin American countries, including Nicaragua. As you say, most people don't seem to care, and parents are often flattered that you want to photograph their kids. However, I feel a lot less comfortable doing so in Canada and the USA unless it's at a public event or the like. I do sometimes take photos of homeless people on the street  -- not without a certain amount of guilt -- because I think this type of documentary photography can do some good. However, I don't do this as much as I used to, and I now try to hide subjects' identities. I agree that getting shot is a real possibility in Latin America. For instance, I would never photograph anything to do with the military or police.

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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11 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

That's a valid point about captions and tags. However, you never know how the end-user might caption an image.

 

Yes, the end-user might well choose a different caption for the image. But if there is ever any legal or moral issue regarding a pic, we can demonstrate that it wasn't our captions, tags and keywords that were to blame.

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Perhaps we are talking more about social control than ethics - which is why several people have commented on how their behaviour depends on context rather than subject matter eg) which country they are in, other people's attitudes to photographing children 

 

We are all much more influenced by social norms than we realise so often prefer to ascribe actions to personal decision-making rather than external pressures to conform. 

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20 hours ago, Jill Morgan said:

I ran into the same issue as Ed a few years ago (posted about it here as well I believe) of a woman being loaded into an air ambulance.  Just couldn't bring myself to take the pic.  Felt like I was invading her space.  Certainly would fail me as a photojournalist, but that one I just couldn't bring myself to take.

 

Jill

 

If one can shoot whilst disguising the face, maybe when the paramedics are covering parts of the body (for example), that might be acceptable (for me) - but it all depends upon the scene, the injuries, etc. [I'm talking about news here, btw, not stock].

 

Children - I tend to avoid unless they are at a well advertised local children's event (for example).

 

Personally I'd say it all depends upon the circumstances.

Edited by BidC
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23 hours ago, dustydingo said:

 

I've never considered photos of kids as totally verbotten either here or overseas, but I am careful . . . my main rule when photographing kids is never, ever hide the fact. Never (as I have sometimes seen recommended here) photograph kids surreptitiously!
 
This "look, I'm a photographer and I'm not trying to sneak photos of you or your kids" approach is another reason my machine of choice is a big DSLR.
 

 

This is absolutely my approach. And I've never been queried or confronted. All these pics were total strangers, candids, no permission sought nor denied, no questions asked.

 

Alan

 

capture.jpg

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I must say this thread hit home a bit today when I was one of the first people on the scene of an RTA and after offering my assistance the thought crossed my mind that there could be some saleable images in there. It obviously shows how wet around the ears I am that there was no way it was going to happen¬†ūüôĄ

 

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14 hours ago, Bionic said:

I must say this thread hit home a bit today when I was one of the first people on the scene of an RTA and after offering my assistance the thought crossed my mind that there could be some saleable images in there. It obviously shows how wet around the ears I am that there was no way it was going to happen¬†ūüôĄ

 

 

But you offered your assistance. Much more important.

 

Allan

 

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The vast majority of my work is photojournalism.  If there are children in a news context I don’t have a problem.  Last week I covered the climate march in London.  I noticed two young children in costume with banners.  I took the photo.  The mother came up and asked me to delete the photos.  I refused.  She said she did not want her children plastered all over the media.  Had she said there was a protection issue I would not have deleted them, but would not have used them. I did point out to her that she was in a public place, on a demonstration and her children were in costume holding banners.  I know many will disapprove, but as Ian noted above, it is about personal decisions/responsibility.  In the end I did not upload the pictures, but only on the grounds I had better shots. 

 

Last year i covered an incident a couple of hundred yards away from my house.  Numerous police cars, three ambulances and eventually the air ambulance.  I took pictures, although not of the individual involved.  I asked responders on the scene what happened, but not unexpectedly they refused to answer.  I contacted the press office of the ambulance trust, they promised to get back to me, they never did.  (Perhaps for reasons that will become clear later) The local paper used the pictures and I put some out on social media.  I was then contacted to say the family involved were angry with me for taking  (I think they meant publishing) the pictures and would I delete them. (Far too late of course) It turns out to have been a teenager attempting to hang herself.  What was worse, the police attempted to resuscitate but because the ambulance took so long to respond (allegedly over 15 minutes) there was, allegedly, permanent brain damage.   

 

From a news viewpoint perfectly justifiable - had I known it was an attempted hanging would I have published, doubtful, but, on the other side of the balance, the delay by the ambulance was a matter of major public interest.

 

These things are seldom clear cut, one uses professional judgement and the National editors guidelines. ¬†And, in any case, it is up to the ‚Äúpublisher‚ÄĚ to make the final call.¬†

 

Edited by IanDavidson
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