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  1. #1

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    Is there anything you wouldn't photograph?

    In keeping with my signature I see potential pictures everywhere but also morally there are some things that I refuse to photograph.

    Road accidents - If I can help I stop, if I can't then I drive past. I'd never make a staff photographer.

    Also over the road from me there is a very useful graveyard that I use often for shoots. However one section is dedicated to childrens graves and like today I look out of the window to see morning relatives attending the grave. The pictures would be moving and tell a story in their own right, but I cannot bring myself to intrude on their grief.

    So my question is what pictures would you turn your back on and walk way?
    Last edited by TPPhotog; 11-07-2004 at 08:06 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: When will this keyboard repeat what I type

  2. #2
    Max Power's Avatar
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    I have actually given this some thought too.
    Like you, road carnage, is for me taboo. A couple of years ago when I was in Bosnia, our Road Safety expert gave a briefing to all of my drivers about the hazards of driving in the Balkans. In order to raise awareness, he used a number of photographs which featured not only the vehicles but also the individuals who had been implicated in these accidents. Although I had no problem with the mangled vehicles, I found that what distressed me was the photos with mangled bodies.
    What bothered me was that I felt that the dignity of the people in these photos had been 'betrayed'. As such, I would never be able to photograph road carnage.

    Further, I could not bring myself to photograph someone else's grief. Again, it's (for me) a question of maintaining the dignity of the individual.

    Guess that I'd be a crappy photo-journalist too

    Kent
    Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  3. #3
    jim kirk jr.'s Avatar
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    Nothing that dosn't interest me....
    "An object never performs the same function as its name or its image"-Rene Magritte

    "An image of a dog does not bite"-William James applied to photography

  4. #4

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    You mean other than myself - Seriously Tony, I went through the same thoughts last year when my Mother died. She was in hospice for a day before she finally passed and the whole family was there with her. In a way it was like a big family get together - the sort of thing she always enjoyed, the kind where cameras come out and pictures are made. There were many great shots to be made, face's that were full of sadness and full of hope, we ran all of the emotions that families have during these time. Why didn't I do it - easy, I could not intrude on each persons grief - nor would I.

    Earlier this year was at the cemetery to visit Mom's grave and saw a very touching site, would have been a very strong photo - an older man, probably visiting his wifes graveside was there, cowboy hat in his hand, you could see how much he missed her from his body language - but again, No I would not take this photo.

    Some things are just to personal, others should not be done - do we really need to see photos of a car wreck, accident scene - I've seen all the gore i ever want to see and don't need photo's to remind me.
    Mike C

    Rambles

  5. #5

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    Jim you've not seen me in the flesh that would put you off taking a shot

    But seriously folks so far I think we are feeling along the same lines here. I think some grief is too personal and as Mike says I've seen all the gore I want without having photo's of it.

    Maybe if the grief captured in photographs would make a difference then the stakes change. Pictures of events going on around the world such as floods, famine and desasters are acceptable to me because hopefully we are bringing a need for help to the world at large. But natural death or accidents where there is nothing that can be done the pictures have no value other than a personal capture.

    (PS ... Just noticed editing my typo's I lost a paragraph which is now back in, but happily Max read it before I lost it).

  6. #6
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Similar thoughts here. Buildings, cars and such can be photographed at their worst, but not people. For me, a photograph that would intrude upon or diminish a person's dignity is a photo not taken.

    But, I also think it depends on the purpose behind the image. Photojournalism that is meant to inform should have wide latitude, I think, but if the intent is only to sensationalize or exploit, it cheapens both the photographer and the craft.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  7. #7

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    I agree with Ralph Barker's answer. Photojournalism has the potential for noble purpose and should tell stories that don't shirk the less pleasant aspects of life, death and grief.

    My contribution to the question, as a father: any naked child who has passed his/her 2nd birthday.

  8. #8
    jim kirk jr.'s Avatar
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    Tony I think you found a subject that I would not want to make an image of....
    I do agree with the posts ahead of me here-morality,a sense of right and wrong needs
    to come into play whenever there is a question as to whether an image should be made
    or not.I wouldn't want to be the photographer who was being labeled as the,"he'll do anything to get the shot"....you need to be able to look in the mirror and not see an
    a-hole.
    "An object never performs the same function as its name or its image"-Rene Magritte

    "An image of a dog does not bite"-William James applied to photography

  9. #9
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    The determining factor would be morality. Unfortunately, we do not all define morality in the same way. Sometimes a decision is made based upon the highest moral intent only to have it rejected by individuals who did not want to face the moral issue presented or addressed. What an individual would accept under one circumstance fails under another.

    An example to give would be that of the deceased being returned from Iraq. One person wants to censor the event. Another wants to use it to make a vailid point.

    I guess my determining factor would be that feeling in the pit of my stomach, labeling something right or wrong or necessary to be done for the higher good. While I hold no desire to harm another individual mentally, spiritually, physically, or emotionally, I believe that the role of the photojournalist (and sometimes the innocent bystander with the camera) is to help us face that which disturbs, confronts, or frightens us and causes us to turn a deaf ear or withhold a helping hand to needs around us. Unfortunately, we are so readily bombarded with images of violence, war, and destruction from so many varied causes, that we as a society tend to be thick skinned and disconnected. It takes a lot to affect or motivate us.

    Rusty

  10. #10

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    Intrusion onto people's privacy - their private space even if they are in public (except as in crowds).
    Sexual acts - don't mind commiting them but not commiting them to film.
    Violence - man against man or animal.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

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