Tag Archives: society

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…

 

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

The “p” word. Photography? No! Paranoia…

Received this email from my West Australian colleague, Tony McDonough of RAW Images, last week. Yet another example of the rampant and unreasonable paranoia infecting society.

“I have just finished a shoot in Perth’s northern suburbs. Nothing fancy, a pic of a shopping centre and some surrounding streets. Job booked and shot at 10:30 am.

For those of you who are not in Perth or have not seen the news lately, there was an alleged child abduction in the “northern suburbs” a few days ago. Now the scene is set.

While walking down a street with my camera over my shoulder and the person who briefed the shoot ( a lovely lady ). I happened to walk past a school. I didn’t look at the school, just a glance, I judged that there was no picture to be had using the school so we continued walking ( we did not stop ) I did not at any time, touch my camera while passing the school except to adjust the strap which was slipping off my shoulder as they sometimes do when a 200 mm lens is attached. I did not put the camera to my eye.

I was even unaware that my companion was not alongside me anymore when I reached an intersection. I stopped and looked around, she was chatting to someone, so I walked back to join in. The stranger was wearing a school name tag, and was enquiring just what we where doing walking past the school. Unfortunately the conversation was over by the time I got there, and all I heard was “…. you can’t be too careful ….” as the busy-body returned  100 meters to her rightful spot.

I only wish she had stopped me :). I could have asked her if she had indeed asked the two other men over the road, they had motorbikes, perhaps the vanguard of a criminal gang scoping out the area to sell drugs. Or I could have asked her if she would so willingly have stopped a plumber carrying a wrench, or perhaps a muslim, because they may have been planning a bombing raid, but sadly I missed my opportunity to chat to this guardian as she scurried back to her vantage point within the school fence.

She obviously  has a keen eye for  for dodgy characters , her first clue would have been the camera, because it is a well know fact  amongst our protectors that people who want to do mischief, often carry cameras worth upwards of $12,000.

What is wrong with our society that people feel a need to question people going about their lawful business? Why didn’t she at least ask me? Why do people immediately feel threatened by people with big cameras, or indeed anyone who carries a camera in public, when almost everybody today carries a smaller camera or a phone camera ? Why should I feel guilty just for carrying a camera?

What have we become? I was and still am really disappointed and upset that I was singled out for his treatment. Do I drive a white van (there was one mentioned in an alert) or was there one parked nearby? No. Did I fit the description of the alleged offender? No. Did I carry a camera past a school? Yes.”….

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Filed under Australian, documentary photography, Opinion, Photographer, Photographers' rights, Photojournalism

What a sick society…

Parents banned from taking photos at annual sports day. Story in UK Daily Telegraph here.

As a parent of young children who has photographed them at many school events and as a stock photographer who has generated income from children’s sport, I find this attitude of ersatz puritanism an indictment of a sex-obsessed society living in hysterical fear of what might be lurking in the dark corners of our minds. What next? A prohibition on photography of pensioners because there are probably people out there who are stimulated by the sight of the elderly? A ban on pencils and pens at sports events in case people might be drawing or writing erotic imagery?

My daughter competing in school athletics

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