Documenting disaster and distress…

The argument whether photographers should photograph people’s suffering in disasters or war ebbs and flows. The subject raises its head each time there is a major event. Inevitably there will those who argue that the photographic coverage is an invasion of privacy, or an exploitation of people’s misery. But, to my mind they arguments is never just black and white. I believe that at the very least, photographs of human misery have the ability to stir empathy and at best, move the viewer to take action in some way to try to relievc that misery.

This subject is covered in a very thoughtful article by Suzy Freeman-Green (Drawing a line in the morality of watching disasters unfold) in the Melbourne, Age today (March 26). I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on this issue…


1 Comment

Filed under Australia, Australian, Digital photography, documentary photography, Photographers' rights, Photography, Photojournalism

One response to “Documenting disaster and distress…

  1. Why is recording of history ever a problem? There are thousands, millions?, who record the beauty of the world with grandiose photos of even more grandiose nature. Life does not last forever. We all know that we, plants, and animals will die some day, somehow.

    I have watched so many mind blowing things on TV, 9/11 was one of them when I sat for hours with tears streaming down my face, as I saw the suffering, and my own incomprehension that people could do this to one another.

    I have seen the old footage of the gates of hell, the concentration camps. If the cameramen had not shot it out of pity for those survivors who were mere skeletons, we would never have seen it.

    Earthquakes and tsunamis happen, people built nuclear plants, we take risks to become richer, it’s just life and it has been like that for a very long time. Is it perfect? Of course it isn’t because it is life. Life ain’t pretty all the time, but pretty good most of the time. We don’t make the disasters or the sunsets, we record them and that is very important, so let us never stop doing it!

    Roel Loopers
    professional photographer for 44 years


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