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  1. #11
    blansky's Avatar
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    It's kind of interesting, but what a lot of people have said here is ironically, Pulitzer prize winning photography.

    So does that say, for lack of better word (I apologize) you don't have the stomach for highly charged, highly dramatic recording of the human condition.

    Further does that mean that you think that a lot of the Pulitzer prize work is invasive or intrusive into too private moments.

    I think that sometimes if we were to record moments that you have mentioned and looked at it in a longer range context we could be telling a very important story.

    I came back and added this line:

    Is part of the problem in taking these photographs the fact that you wouldn't want to take them or that you wouldn't want anybody to SEE you taking, for the obvious reason that they may think you an insensitive jerk. Is it a fact that you would like to capture this type of emotionally charged image just that you couldn't deal with the confrontation from bystanders?

    Perhaps this is interestingly why a lot of the great ones we've all seen were done with virtually silent rangefinders.

    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  2. #12
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    This is a very intriuging thread and I agree with avoiding making photographs of people in church yards. I am not particularly religious but I do feel that those visiting church yards to pay respect or just be near to a lost loved one should be able to do so in privacy and peace. However, in recent years I have made photographs of small detail and abstract shapes in one or two old church yards that I know of, one in Edinburgh is full of wonderful images.

    I take a different view from some on reportage, that is, I believe that all serious photographers should make photographs of things like crashes, bombings etc and make the judgement as to whether or not to publish them when the film is processed after the event. In doing this I feel that you make the decision at a time that you are not emotionally involved in the actual incident. My guide line is to ask myself the questions "would I want to see my mother or any loved one in such an image", and "can this photograph change anything". Clearly there is still much soul searching to be done but thus far in my photographic life I feel that I have generally made the right decision when faced with the dilemma. If I don't use the image I destroy the negative.

    I know that three other Apugers were at a Trowbridge in Wiltshire last week where I did a talk on my photography, the other two speakers were Kathy Harcom who recently joined us, and Denis Thorpe a long time photo journalist for the Guardian. Denis has worked in many hell holes in his career and his pictures have been seen many times on the front page of the newspaper and he never flinched in making the most powerful images of horror. The most powerful, in my opinion is the series made with a 20ml lens of a grieving father carrying the coffin of his 6 month old child from the church to the grave. Denis genuinely believes that his photography helped the situation.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  3. #13

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    I interpreted the question as to what I personally would not take pictures of; not whether I approved of others taking such pictures. Photo-journalism just isn't my thing; but I certainly approve those who take powerful pictures that thereby might amelioarate the human condition. And its not a question of avoiding confrontation ( could always get a Leica or cell-phone camera), just would hope for the same from others.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  4. #14
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TPPhotog
    So my question is what pictures would you turn your back on and walk way?
    I primarily shoot landscapes, and I generally avoid shooting images that I feel don't reflect the beauty and majesty of the natural world.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  5. #15
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    The question of eithics, or morality, is always a difficult one, when ever I choose to hit the shutter button, I have in the back of my mind, am I helping, hurting or just plain intruding? That is very difficult, as we all have different perspective, based on the emotion of the situation at hand, over the course of time, our perceptions of things will change, and they can change quickly...

    Documentation, of events can and will continue to be important, these can be important images.

    I have to say, my choice or non-choice to document an event, an emotion or a moment, will always be dictated by the feelings I have at the time.

    I spent a great amount of time last year documenting the summer of fire, here in Montana, it was a gut hurting experiance, but I felt was needed, and has benefited many different management organizations, needed images, that brought tears to my eyes more than once....would I do it again....I really don't know...

    Like I said, ethics and morality, are always difficult and we as humans, may never find the answer to this very important question.

    Dave Parker
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  6. #16
    Stephen J. Collier's Avatar
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    I wouldn't film anyone having sex; that much is easy for me to answer.

    As to the question of photojournalism, I think that a good P.J. will understand the difference between the exploitable, sensationalized image (i.e., the paparazzi) and the photo that needs to be taken in order to bring to light a conflict or corrupt situation that has been overlooked by the rest of the world (i.e., genocide, famine or disasters that are the result of one group of human beings exploiting other human beings or a natural environment). As to my personal ability, or should I say desire, to be photojournalist, I would do it in a second if I didn't have a wife and 8 month old son.
    As the old cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I am not the greatest writer so don't think I could ever be a journalist, but I still have this desire to expose what I feel is so wrong and brutal in this world. I like how James Nachtwey describes his photography, he call himself an Anti-War photographer. I am beginning to digress here, but I guess this has been my two cents.

    Good thread, it has definitely been a topic that I have thought a lot about in the last year or so.
    [COLOR=DarkOliveGreen][SIZE=2]"We are not at War, we are having a nervous breakdown". Hunter S. Thompson[/SIZE][/COLOR]

  7. #17
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Michael said: " . . . what a lot of people have said here is ironically, Pulitzer prize winning photography"

    True. But, Pulitzer prize-winning work is (almost exclusively) by definition "photojournalism meant to inform".

    "Further does that mean that you think that a lot of the Pulitzer prize work is invasive or intrusive into too private moments."

    Again, yes. But I think the underlying purpose and intent of the image usually transcends the intrusion.

    Personally, which I believe was the root of the question as posed, I'm not a photojournalist, so I lack that context in which to work, and have the luxury of choosing my subject matter accordingly. Thus, I have the option of concentrating on what I see as the beauty of things, rather than life at it's ugliest or most painful. If, however, I were to stumble on an event of great social significance, I'd have no problem with shooting the blood, guts, gore and tears - and would assume that I could subsequently publish the work appropriately.

    Perhaps I'm the fuddiest of duddies, but I rather like the ethics of yesteryear when some things "just weren't done" - out of respect and what was then considered common decency.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  8. #18
    Stephen J. Collier's Avatar
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    Sorry I have one more thing to mention.

    I think that it might be possible that photographers whether they are P.J.s, Art, or commercial photographers just don't see eye to eye and have never seen eye to eye on the nature of their work. I remember hearing a quote from Cartier-Bresson, in which he said (I am paraphrasing here) "the earth is falling apart, and Adams and Weston are out there shooting rocks."

    It obvious that he felt Adams and Weston should be concentrating on subjects that were more of a pressing social nature and although I may not totally agree with him, I think it illustrates a point. It’s hard for those of us who have dedicated our photography to such different subjects and goals to understand those who have seemingly gone in an opposite direction and therefore we might be inclined to view one type of photography as lower or less relevant than others.
    [COLOR=DarkOliveGreen][SIZE=2]"We are not at War, we are having a nervous breakdown". Hunter S. Thompson[/SIZE][/COLOR]

  9. #19
    BWGirl's Avatar
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    Hey Tony!
    Yo know I was recently faced with a dilemma of sorts concerning this very idea. My son is a volunteer firefighter and their assistant fire chief died of a heart attack during a big fire that involved at least 10 local fire departments. The day of the funeral, he called me and said I should come down to the fire station because they had fire trucks there from over 15 different departments and a flag between two ladder trucks.
    Well, I went, but I did go to the chief first and ask his permission. I shot a roll of film and selected two photos...one of the flag between the trucks, and one of the guys in my sons fire department. I wrote a poem (it's in my journal) and matted & framed the poem and the two photos. My son presented it to the Chief to hang in the firehouse. He and all the other guys were so pleased with it.
    So good can come out of some bad....accidents...nope, I could not do that. War/carnage photography...same thing.
    Jeanette
    .................................................. ................
    Isaiah 25:1

  10. #20
    blansky's Avatar
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    Tony's original question is
    So my question is what pictures would you turn your back on and walk way?


    I would wonder further the WHY? As I touched on earlier, is the WHY because you think it's wrong or intrusive or is the WHY, fear on your part.

    It has been mentioned often on a lot of post that many people fear taking portaits, or are uncomfortable taking pictures of people and it may sort of boil down to fear. Fear of being the center of attention, or fear of having eveybody looking at you.

    Granted lots of people on this site are perfectly happy taking weekend pictures of scenics and that's great. But there are also lots of people on this site who would love to be award winning highly paid photographers.

    Much like lawyers, many go into wills, and corporate law because they are essentially afraid to become the Johnny Cochranes and Gerry Spences of the world tearing up the criminal court rooms. But I bet many fantacize about being the top guys.

    So my point is, is fear of stepping up and showing yourself taking these controversial photographs, what is really stopping you from doing it?

    It is fear that makes you walk by instead of stopping and pulling out your camera and recording these gut wrenching events.

    Believe me, I'm not saying that this fear is bad, good or indifferent, but could it be the motivation.

    Just wondering.


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

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