NPR sparked a debate regarding photojournalism, ethics, and privacy this past Monday after publishing a story titled, “What It Feels Like To Be Photographed In A Moment Of Grief” on its photography blog.
The discussion revolved around the photograph above, which AFP photographer Emmanuel Dunand captured in the evening after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Street photography is a genre that every photographer will try at least once in his or her career. Its broad appeal stems from the fact that you can do it anywhere; there’s a human element to the images that captivate the viewer, and if done well, can make for some extremely arresting images.
However, it also requires balls. You have to get close enough to your subjects; and with people, invading personal space is uncomfortable (and possibly hazardous to health) for both photographer and subject.
The New York Post sparked a firestorm of controversy last week after publishing a photo of a man about to be struck by a subway train. People around the world were outraged that a photographer decided to photograph what had occurred, that he had sold (or, in the photographer’s words, licensed) the photo to a newspaper, and that the paper decided to publish it with a sensationalist front page story.
The New York Times found an eerily similar story on its hands this week, but its handling of the situation — and the subsequent public reaction to the article — has been drastically different.
Jonathon Keats of Forbes has a great piece discussing truth in photography and Joel Sternfeld’s 1978 photo of a fireman shopping for pumpkins as a house burns in the background:
Sternfeld recognizes the passive-aggressive coerciveness of pictures, and enlists their manipulative power. “You take 35 degrees out of 360 degrees and call it a photo,” he told the Guardian in a 2004 interview. “No individual photo explains anything. That’s what makes photography such a wonderful and problematic medium.”
[...] A century ago, anything a camera captured was widely accepted as fact. Today every image is presumed to be contrived. We’re wary of underhanded propaganda and attuned to journalistic perspective. Yet as concerned as we’ve become about pictures, we remain all too confident about our unmediated vision, which is also inherently selective, limited by when and where we’re looking. Sternfeld’s pictures remind us that, like a camera, our eyes are essentially passive. Like photography, observation is an act of authorship.
Here’s a Calvin and Hobbes comic exploring the exact same issue.
Do Not Trust This Joel Sternfeld Photograph [Forbes via POTB]
Image credit: Photograph by Joel Sternfeld
Tim Olsen Gallery, a prestigious art gallery located in Sydney, Australia, has dropped popular Australian photo artist Ben Ali Ong after it was discovered that some of his photo artworks were actually based on uncredited Getty Images. An exhibition featuring Ong’s work, which was set to open this week, was canceled, and a number of art buyers will be refunded.
Recognize this photograph? It shows 14-year-old Mary Ann Vecchio screaming and kneeling over the body of 20-year-old Jeffrey Miller, shot during the Kent State Massacre. Kent State photojournalism student John Paul Filo — just 22-years-old at the time — captured the image, and was later awarded the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography.
Conflict minerals are minerals supplied by war-stricken parts of the world in which armed conflict and human rights abuses are prevalent — minerals that are essential in the manufacture of consumer electronics. There has been a huge push recently to eradicate conflict minerals from the gadget industry, since the trade of these materials lines the pockets of unscrupulous folk and directly funds violence.
The Center for American Progress’s Enough Project is trying to get major manufacturers involved by releasing an annual ranking on how well those companies are doing in avoiding conflict minerals. The latest report, released earlier this month, shows that certain camera companies — namely Canon and Nikon — are lagging behind big-time when it comes to being involved in this matter.
The Guardian featured a gripping article yesterday that asked photographers to look back at some of their most powerful photos, and how they could have helped instead of standing by and taking pictures. On the one hand we’ve all felt that surge of indignation as we wonder “why didn’t they help!?” On the other, only a photographer that has been there could understand what it’s like to be under that kind of pressure: Read more…
Our goal in photojournalism is reality. The foundation of ethics in photojournalism is that our photographs of any situation should look the way our eyes saw it. Let’s use the human eye as our benchmark standard of reality. How the eye sees is our goal, and thus our reality. We forget that the human eye is not film or glass.
While a number of countries are taking steps to ban the unrealistic Photoshopping of models, Israel has gone a step further: the country has banned the use of underweight models themselves. Additionally, ads that are Photoshopped to make models look skinnier must also now carry a disclaimer. With the new law in place, all models appearing at photo shoots for ads geared toward the Israeli market must provide an up-to-date medical report proving that they aren’t malnourished by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standards. WHO states that a body mass index below 18.5 indicates malnutrition. By these standards, a woman 5’8” tall must weigh at least 119 pounds.
(via AP via PDNPulse via The Click)
Image credit: IMG_7144 by dsearls