Photography Code of Ethics

I found interesting topics about code of ethics for photography. An article I pulled up from this link gives us guidelines of photography code of ethics especially for photographing people. While an article from this source gives us insights of photographing wildlife. And for those interested in photojournalism a guideline from this link may help you. Here is those articles:

1. Photo Ethics: Aim High When You Shoot

Chitrabani, a Christian communication center in Calcutta, India, has developed a set of guidelines for still photography which provide thoughtful insights for all who go around ‘shooting pictures.

What to Photograph

  • What you shoot and how you shoot is determined by why you shoot and whom you shoot for.
  • Then photographing people do not treat them as if they were things.
  • Do not take people’s pictures, give images, especially to the imageless.
  • Never depict people as useless or inadequate. It is their helplessness which has to be Shown.
  • Do not invade anybody’s privacy except when it is necessary for depicting certain social situations.
  • Yet, boldly reach into personal life, bearing in mind that the photographs you take are your brothers’ and sisters.

How to Photograph

  • Never art for art’s sake, just try to make the best possible picture.
  • There is no need to prettify people and objects; they have their beauty, and a good photograph exudes beauty.
  • Sensationalism diverts attention from the essential.
  • Shun extra long lenses. A short lens draws you near your subject.
  • Try to establish a rapport with the person you photograph.

Social Concern

  • Let not your photographs drift away from context.
  • Earn the right to see what you wish to show.
  • Your social concern is to document life with empathy.
  • Be true to the image people want to have of themselves, but at the same time do show what you believe is their real image. The dignity of the poor, in particular, demands that their situation be known.
  • A documentary coverage can never be total. Complete a biased image by another biased image.
  • Be an iconoclast – a destroyer of established images.

Your Public

  • Photos should not be used to exploit the persons portrayed.
  • Refrain from showing a photograph if undesirable manipulation cannot be averted.
  • Your photos have no place in art shows.
  • Lending your photographs for “illustrating” articles that have hardly anything to do with the persons photographed is like lending your voice to somebody else’s speech.
  • Destroy the myth that photographs are duplicates of reality.
  • Ethical documentary photography is not your sole responsibility. But your photographs encourage certain responses in the viewer.

2. Wildlife photography ethics
By Deb Tappan

  • First and foremost, view wildlife from a safe distance for both you and them. Respect their spatial needs. If the animal interrupts its behavior (resting, feeding, etc.), then you are too close and must distance yourself.
  • Never force an action. Be patient! The most beautiful photographs result from natural action.
  • Never come between a parent and its offspring. I’ve seen tiny bear cubs distressed, treed then separated from their mother by a throng of tourists eager for a closer look. This is unacceptable behavior.
  • Never crowd, pursue, prevent escape, make deliberate noises to distract, startle or harass wildlife. This is stressful and wastes valuable energy in needless flight. The impact is cumulative. Consider that you may be the 65th person to yell “hey moose” at that animal that day while it’s attempting to tend to its young.
  • Never feed or leave food (baiting) for wildlife. Habituation due to handouts can result in disease or even death of that animal and injury to you.
  • Never encroach on nests or dens as certain species will abandon their young.
  • Never interfere with animals engaged in breeding, nesting, or caring for young.
  • Learn to recognize wildlife alarm signals and never forget that these animals are NOT tame no matter how docile or cuddly they appear. No one would argue that you should not try to pet a bull yet there have been numerous instances where a tourist attempted to have his/her photo taken next to a bison with disastrous consequences.
  • Do not damage or remove any plant, life form or natural object. Do pack out trash.
  • Acquaint yourself with and respect the behaviors and ecosystems of the wildlife you may encounter. By doing so, you will enrich your experience tremendously.
  • Finally, and most significant, remember that the welfare of the subject and habitat are irrefutably more important than the photograph.

3. Photojournalism Code of Ethics

Photojournalists and those who manage visual news productions are accountable for upholding the following standards in their daily work:

  1. Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
  2. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
  3. Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.
  4. Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
  5. While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
  6. Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
  7. Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
  8. Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
  9. Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.

Ideally, photojournalists should:

  1. Strive to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in public. Defend the rights of access for all journalists.
  2. Think proactively, as a student of psychology, sociology, politics and art to develop a unique vision and presentation. Work with a voracious appetite for current events and contemporary visual media.
  3. Strive for total and unrestricted access to subjects, recommend alternatives to shallow or rushed opportunities, seek a diversity of viewpoints, and work to show unpopular or unnoticed points of view.
  4. Avoid political, civic and business involvements or other employment that compromise or give the appearance of compromising one’s own journalistic independence.
  5. Strive to be unobtrusive and humble in dealing with subjects.
  6. Respect the integrity of the photographic moment.
  7. Strive by example and influence to maintain the spirit and high standards expressed in this code. When confronted with situations in which the proper action is not clear, seek the counsel of those who exhibit the highest standards of the profession. Photojournalists should continuously study their craft and the ethics that guide it.
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~ by giantrangkong on April 8, 2008.

2 Responses to “Photography Code of Ethics”

  1. [...] Surabaya. Meski domainnya di Indonesia menurut saya bisa juga kita terapkan dimana saja. Klik juga di sini untuk tips fotografi di alam [...]

  2. Hi, my name is Michael Samuels and I copied and pasted your ethical guidelines into my ethics paper for a course I am taking at Temple University. I’m attributing the credit to you but I’m not sure of your name. I checked your “about me page” but the short description doesn’t show what your name is. For now the paper just has your blogger title and the blog you write on but it would be greatly appreciated if you could email me your name and allowance of this quotation. And by the way, I think this guideline should be the basis for every photojournalist’s ethical thinking process before they go on assignment

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