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Documentary, reportage and moral responsibility

Discussion in 'Philosophy of Photography' started by pdh, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    • Like Like x 6
  2. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    this is one of the reasons I'd rather become a well travelled amateur photographer, hopefully with a job where I can make some sort of immediate difference, rather than a professional photographer.
     
  3. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    The photographer who shot the iconic picture of a starving child stalked by a vulture, just killed himself. His name was Kevin Carter.

    "I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken [recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek] if I am that lucky."
     
  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    After seeing those photos it just reinforces my belief that humans are the lowest form of animal life on the planet. The things we do to each other make me sick.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Sorry I can't recall the name, but there was a wonderful book of fiction that explored this topic. It was about a documentary photographer who is visited years later by someone he took a picture of. That picture was recognized by a regime and the guy was jailed and tortured for years because of it. So the guy came to kill the photographer, but only after a few days of tortuous conversations. They discuss the impact and moral obligation of documentary photography. It turns out that the photographer's wife was killed while standing beside him while they were documenting a war, so he had his own personal losses. I would divulge what happens to the photographer :confused:

    Without such documentary photography some events may never come to light, but the photographer is rarely in a position to assist. Their own lives are at times on the line.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Bob
    Two thoughts:
    One the photographer is assisting the victims by recording the event and publishing the images to the rest of the world.
    Without the images the rest of the world can ignore these horrendous events and victims.

    Secondly how come only the photographer who records the activity is the one criticized for a non-physical response, what about all the others at the scene. All the unknowns who do nothing, but watch or run
     
    • Like Like x 3
  7. jhowell39

    jhowell39 SC Veteran

    243
    Jun 23, 2011
    norcal
    Jim
    I think that unless a person has found themselves in personal, imminent danger and understand the adrenaline overload that goes with, their opinion of others actions, or inactions, should be left as merely retorical. None of us should be passing judgement in any case. Our own harshest critic lies within...
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I would never the pass judgment on the photographer in these cases. I'm passing judgment on the people responsible for the acts.
     
  9. jhowell39

    jhowell39 SC Veteran

    243
    Jun 23, 2011
    norcal
    Jim
    I should have been more clear. I was referencing the critics of the photographers. Sorry for any confusion! This is one of the most civil and thoughtful forums on the worldy-wide interweb.
     
  10. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I didn't think you were questioning me...I just wanted to clarify. Obviously, there's no telling what we would do in such tumultuous situations. I think in one or two of them, I'm pretty sure I'd set down the camera and get in a fisticuffs. In others, I fear I may just do the easy thing and do nothing. But I go out of my way to not be in situations like this to start with.
     
  11. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Until any of us have the misfortune to be in such a situation we simply cannot judge. I was once the target of an attempted mugging - on a cold, wet night in Amsterdam. A man asked me the time and tried to grab my watch when I looked at it. He managed somehow in the ensuing struggle to get his arm around my neck. I went nuts and ended up putting him on the ground and hitting him hard enough to stay there. I fled and went straight back to my hotel, where I called the police. They took a statement and I thought that was the end of it. The following morning I told the tale to my Dutch colleagues. One asked if I had been threatened with a dirty needle. This was common at the time because of the threat of AIDs. I have never run so fast, to the gents to strip off and check myself all over.

    None of my actions were planned - everything was instinct, fuelled by adrenaline. Like I said, you do not know how you will react in a given situation and I would not like to judge others without "being there"

    Sent from another Galaxy
     
  12. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    whoa sorry to hear you had such a **** experience in our country... glad you defended yourself and got out OK!!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    It was a long time ago. I'm not that fast these days :wink:
     
  14. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    As a former news photog, I've been there. I have and will dropped my gear and assignment(s) to help others in dire need. I do know other journalist and photojournalists who would never interfere and actually look down at me for not doing my job and for losing my status as an observer.

    I feel for Carter. What they don't teach you in school is that you are as responsible for what you see as you are for what you do. Ultimately, all journalists/war correspondents will learn that lesson but, by the time it is learned it's too late to save themselves from all the faces from the stories. Like slivers of shrapnel from an old wound, working its way to the surface, the faces and images which are buried deep in our sub-conscience will slowly work their way to our conscience and the light of day. No rush, those faces have a lifetime, your lifetime, to remind you of what you saw. As a volunteer, you never really had to be there, you didn't have to be at that place, at that time, just to see what you thought you had to see.

    Gary
     
    • Like Like x 8
  15. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    wow Gary that's quite a way to land here ... strong and heartfelt.

    thanks.

    if you've joined to stick around (or even if you joined to add to this thread only), you're very welcome here ... there is a "welcomes and introductions" thread if you like that sort of thing.
     
  16. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    Thanks pdh. I'm active over at Amin's other site µ4/3. I heard a lot about Serious Compacts so I'm here taking a peak. The closest thing I have to a compact are a couple of OM-D's (I guess that works for here).

    Gary

    PS- The OP of the guy slapping his wife ... I would have shot that also, lol ... now if he starts to pummel her ... I'd interfere.
    G
     
  17. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Just so you know Gary, I'm in charge of slapping around here. Welcome! Glad you found the place.:wink:
     
  18. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Yes, Luke and I play "good cop, bad cop" :smile: And it's a welcome from me too, Gary. Hope you find much here to stimulate you - and please do contribute!
     
  19. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    Wow, now-a-days they'll give anybody a badge (lol) ... Yes sir, I'll take that as a fair warning, sir.

    28693897_RA9kR-L.jpg

    Gary

    PS- How about those Dodgers ... neck-to-neck with the Giants as they turn into the final stretch.
    G

    PPS- Good seeing you here.
    G
     
  20. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    Obviously you're the 'Good Cop' ... thank you for the warm welcome. As many of the players are the same, I found much redundancy between here and µ4/3, so I'll try not to duplicate my content.

    Gary