In the dark of night

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by jim kirk jr., Nov 4, 2004.

  1. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    Here is my long winded question/proposition;

    First let me say that this is not intended in any way to start up a religious or political mess but simply is presented as a "situation",not real for any of us here(at least not yet)only as a "what if."
    Most religions and most of the "isms" that sprung out of the 20th century had
    or still do have there extremists as well as the mainstream.But what if in any
    of the nations in which we live in all of a sudden went the extreme route,either by vote or takeover?What if photography was outlawed in your
    country as "beholding images","idoltry",or anyone with a camera had to register it with the authorities(hey in ww2 the Nazi's had everyone register
    their bicycles and that sounds ridiculous even for a dictatorship-also radios).
    To take a step further if in possession of one illegally you would be executed
    or imprisioned as an enemy of the state unless,of course,you were in the service of said "state" making images that reflected the party or theocratic
    line of thinking(remember the Nazis and Communists both hijacked art and
    every other media for their own purposes).
    Now the question:A)would you abandon photography all together
    b)leave your country,possibly never to return and never
    see friends,familiy or the land you love again
    c)work in the service of the "state" therbye prostituting
    your ability for a govt. that will restrict your expression
    to suit its own ends.
    d)make photos by the hundreds,distributing them on doors
    in the dark of night letting people know that their is
    something else besides the propaganda they're being fed
    risking your life in the process
    e)Hope that somehow it will all go away and stash your
    equipment hoping to not be caught until then
    f)greet every storm trooper that comes to your door with
    a gun with an even bigger gun.
    g)something else that I've completely overlooked-besides
    the "it can't happen here" senario-because it can

    Just thought I'd see what the responses would be from people who have the
    ability to enjoy their photography as they see fit would do if it were suddenly
    taken away.I ask because none of the proposals I've posted seem to be an
    option...
     
  2. Stephen J. Collier

    Stephen J. Collier Member

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    A very interesting question!!!

    I personally would like to think that I would continue to distribute photographs despite what the present political climate was, but knowing my own personally lack of bravado and heroism in the face of a hostile authority I would probably stash my equipment and hope the strom blew over quickly.

    There was a song that came out a while ago that went something like this:

    "And how many people sick of holding it back?
    I am I am
    And how many people wanna kick some ass?
    I would if I could
    But I'm really just a sensitive artist"

    The song was not very good, but I would have to say that I can identify with those lyrics every now and then.

    A sad thing to admit, but very true.
     
  3. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    I would stash my cameras for the time being and build guns until there was no more need for me to do so. When there was no more need for me to build guns it would be an indicator that I could dig up my back yard to retrieve my cameras. In the mean time, between the gun building, I'd perfect the wrist watch camera ala Dick Tracy. I have a machinist/welding background. Partial resume attached. May come in handy. Call me when the next "Paul Revere" rides by. :smile:
     

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  4. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    Thanks Jay.
    The gun thing was tongue in cheek, kinda. Referring to Jim Jrs item "f" about storm troopers. The old cliche(s) apply:
    First, ban their guns, then ban anything else you want.
    Or:
    What do you call unarmed citizens?--Subjects. Etc...They're dozens of 'em.

    Jim has a question in there somewhere. We are able to take photos of most anything we like, discounting things now considered security concerns. I recently watched a program on TV about the Vietnamese war photographers. There are few survivors, and the ones that spoke about it related a very rough time trying to do their jobs. They were highly censored and expected to take only those shots suitable for use by approved news agencies and propaganda outlets. Some took it on themselves to provide a balanced photographic view of the war for the sake of posterity. Most had to wait 'til years after the war to show their work for fear of reprisals. I don't know what I would do in their situation. Hopefully I wouldn't hold the price of my own skin so dear as to forsake doing the right thing. It's hard to say though, sitting in a warm house in front of this PC...
     
  5. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Personally,
    Seeing as for me, photography is a hobby, I would for the moment abandon it in order to turn my attention to more important things...Like going underground and doing my utmost to topple the government.

    Kent
     
  6. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    Therein lies the dilemma-deciding what is the "right thing"-it's all relative.
    Doing the right thing becomes an issue if the govt. would institute a "kith and kin" law therbye condemming all of your relatives and I mean the entire bloodline to extinction if you're discovered.Or if your entire village was to pay the price for harboring a "traitor".Do you knowing sacrifice the lives of thousands-even though it would be the govt. ,not you,who is the real traitor.
    Or do you do what you want and at some point become a martyr that may
    disappear and erased,literally,from history.By the way,I would assume that any govt. controlling photography would destroy allnon-govt. computers as well.
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    D, Ignorance is never acceptable.
     
  8. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Here is a very specific example of this in action.
    The savage reprisals carried out in the wake of Heydrich's assassination were apparently very hard on the Czech resistance movement.

    Lidice

    It's food for thought.

    Kent
     
  9. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    b)
     
  10. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Dali Llama: Is that some sort of surrealist animal? :wink:

    Or do you mean this dude:Dalai Lama

    Kent
     
  11. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I'd follow the examples of my betters such as Capa and go along the lines of answer D. But I'd use the media outside of my own country which would hopefully still be free to tell the truth. I've always been told I have too much of a social conscience (sp?) for my own good, but better to die honestly in resistance than of old age and censored.

    I would get my wife; child; cat and dog out of the country though to make sure they were safe.

    Now go back to sleep Jim, no more cheese before bedtime for you :D
     
  12. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    My thoughts precisely...

    Most of my life has been spent taking on government in one way or another... as a trades unionist supporting the miners against Thatcher, as a tax-payer protesting the Poll Tax (got my head split open and my camera smashed by a police baton in Trafalgar Square), as a couple of examples... so I think, as Tony said, I would make sure my family were safely out of the country and then choose option d.
     
  13. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    I was pretty much thinking along those lines,Lidice,Oradour,everyday in Poland,Ukraine,Serbia,etc to mention but a few.Oh of course I almost forgot the savage reprisals by the Gestapo against the memebers and families
    of the July 1944 failed coup,assassination attempt against Hitler.
     
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  15. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    You're assuming of course that radios in the country you left like computers
    and other "free media" sources wouldn't be illegal as well.
    The getting family out and safe is a good idea but with a "kith and Kin"
    doctrine as pursued by the SS your extended family is at risk as well.
    Possibly even the cat and dogs veternarians,your friends and co-workers
    who of course "had always known of your activites". when they are tortured
    they'll confess that you and they plotted to do all kinds of "traitorous" acts.
    Yeah,I'm awake now-the lack of cheese didn't help...
     
  16. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    If things were that bad I'd shoot both film (or to be honest digi as I wouldn't have time for the real stuff) and bullet. I was a county marksman and later that training was reinforced by four years in the police force, so I would use the training against those that taught me. The bullet would of course take preference as I would invoke the old 10 of them for every one of mine.

    I see that must have been mature cheese :wink:
     
  17. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    So what you're saying is you would continue your photography and become a resistance member with the knowledge that if you're caught or another
    member is caught and "names names"(yours being one of them) that your entire circle of friends,co-workers,extended family,possibly the entire town you're from is going to pay the price for your actions.
    What I'm trying to find out is what can you do in a seemingly impossible situation where a potential dictatorship with todays technology(including DNA
    "fingerprinting")has the ability to not only curtail your rights to something as seemingly innocuous as photography but make it so that you either submit to serve the state or put everything and everyone around you in harms way.
    This is why the options I produced don't appear,at least to me,to be viable
    options-basically every action you take sets in motion a sequence of events
    whose outcome only feeds upon itself.
    I think the cheese was Swiss,very tasty :smile:
     
  18. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Your original question said nothiing about 'kith and kin' punishments.
     
  19. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Jim when all it's lost the only option for me as a person is crash and burn, but take as many of the buggers with you that you can.

    Ultimately the only consequence is death and we are all going to do that one day anyway. Karl Marx nailed it with "workers of the world unite you have nothing to lose but your chains". The chains may take many forms and disguises but may also be a reference to a living death.
     
  20. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    True,that's why I included a letter "G" I knew there was things I had forgotten,so I tossed it in later.Sorry for the oversight but as I'm not
    a member of a secret police force I can't think of everything but I do
    believe that the general rules in most dictatorships have let secret police
    agencies attack families and friends as well,I forgot about children telling on
    their parents for subversive activities too-so I'll just toss in the "you may not
    be able to trust even your relatives in the police state" ala the Hitler Youth.
     
  21. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    It doesn't take Secret Police to bring in a police state. Within the next decade our (UK) government has proposed all British citizens have compulsory 'biometric' ID Cards (Containing retina scans, fingerprints, DNA information), and they also propose satellite tracking of every privately owned motor vehicle in the UK. All vehicles are to be fitted with a 'black box' transmitter for tracking purposes. This is to help cut down on road traffic accidents!
     
  22. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    Good answer,dangerous yes but apparently you're prepared for the consequences.In the end I'd probably do it too and hope that my family,friends,etc can forgive me for doing what I believe in(and not curse me for being the states reason to kill them all) but of
    course I'd prefer another option-one which I'm not sure is out there.
     
  23. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    Disturbing to say the least...
    Not saying that the current UK govt. would use those things to curtail your freedoms,just as I don't believe the current US govt. would use the Patriot act to curtail ours but who is to say some nut job in the future won't?After all WW2 Germany still had the Weimar constitution in force with "Fuhrer Decrees" added to it along with the four line "enabling Act" which gave AH
    total power.
     
  24. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Back to topic ..... only time will tell .......!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2004
  25. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    Thankfully all of us on this website have the right,ability to photograph basically anything ,anywhere we want-with some restriction of course.
    Unfortunately there are many in the world who don't have that right nor the right to be on this website either discussing the thing that brings us all here to begin with.But how easily that can change-all at once or your rights to photography could die a little each day,piece by piece.That was and still is the object of this post-what if that right we all enjoy,possibly taken for granted is at some point taken away.What options are out there that are
    acceptable when something as unsinister as photographic freedom is gone.
     
  26. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I think the real danger in all societies is that events can result in reactions with the best possible intentions, but the results are the loss of freedom and an erosion of democracy. I don't think any of us will ever see something in photography like the changes in the firearms act over here. which basically said as of ...... you will not have firearms in all these categories.

    I do think that compared to when I started back in around 1976 things are now very different. In those days you went out with a camera, people either smiled or turned away, you got the shot whatever it was and some of them even said thank you for being considered worthy of being in the picture. Now with have all the paranoias and restrictions discussed in previous threads.