Responsibilities Of A Photographer

Introduction

As photographers do we have an ethical duty to tell the full, honest story about things? These days almost anybody with a smart phone thinks they are a photographer, I don't have a problem with that, as long as they think of the implications before posting photos, especially if something can show very different stories. To simply illustrate the point I am making I have included two photos of playgrounds, very different looking in deed! 

Example Photo One

Does the camera always tell the truth?

Have a look at this fun looking playground, bright colours, lots to do, a really fun place for little kids to hang out!

Example Photo Two

Is the truth always the truth?

This one looks OK, but nowhere near as nice, not as much there, mostly just grass and a couple of things to climb on

They are both of the same playground! Taken from different angles and were taken just a few minutes apart, same camera, same lens, same photographer! They have not been photoshopped or anything like that, the only difference is where I stood to take the photo from!

What point am I making? Ok these photos are not big news, would probably not really matter which I posted on social media for all to see, but what if I did the same with a hotel! Just by changing your position it's possible to make an average hotel look amazing or just as simple to make it look dreadful!!! Is that ethically ok? If you posted photos of it looking great then it would be great for business, getting lots more people to stay there, some of which would be disappointed it wasn't as nice as it looked in the photos they had seen. What if you posted the negative shots? You could make a nice hotel seem really bad and lose that place a lot of business, purely by the photos being on review sites etc. I am not saying not to post nice pictures from your holidays, just to think about the effect it might have! The same is true for shops, restaurants, cars and so many other things, if you had enough people involved you could seriously boost or damage a business, purely through "creative" photography!

The effect of a photo is even more important with anything that is newsworthy and can have more serious consequences. Just by changing the angle you shoot from you could make a protest of a hundred people look more like a thousand or look more like just ten people there! The media has a responsibility to give an honest picture of what is happening, sadly a lot of the main stream media use tricks like this to make people they like look good and those who are against them look very bad! It can be the same with a photo of just one person, a good camera will easily take 7+ photos in a single second, when you are getting that many you can sometimes catch micro expressions and things like that. A good respectful MP (They do exist!) yawning for a fraction of a second due to having a late night, but if they were at a memorial event that fraction of a second could make it look like they were being very disrespectful! Imagine spotting something at a funeral that reminded you of something funny, could be a tiny thing that just caused you to grin for a fraction of a second, but if someone photographed that and the media published it then that person would look extremely bad!!!

People want to sell holidays, so they will always post the best possible photos, but they do have an ethical duty to be at least slightly realistic!!! The main stream media will always twist things to sell papers and keep their friends in high (or low) places happy, they mostly ignore their responsibility to tell the actual truth! As you may have guessed I am not a big fan of the main stream media, I used to mostly believe whatever they said, but after standing in a crowd of a quarter of a million people (according to official figures!) protesting (the feeling was amazing, so much energy) about the austerity cuts by the Conservative government and watching the news when I got home to see it barely get a mention it really opened my eyes to what really goes on!

An amazing protest to be part of

Take whatever photos you want, but if you use them then think if it is ethical before you do, take responsibility for whatever message that photo might be sending out. If you want to be a proper paparazzi and want to make good money from it then throw the rules out of the window, being ethical is virtually impossible in that job, which is why I would never want to do it!!!