Understanding ourselves in our everyday life is part of becoming a decent person , discovering and understanding what motivates us as Street Photographers is also important , a personal manifesto of “reasonable practice” should be developed & adopted by every Street Photographer with integrity , know where you are, morally !
This blog assumes the reader has considered the ethics of Street Photography itself and wishes to continue and develop personal guidelines.
What is a good ethical approach to Street Photography ?
This is the million dollar question , I warn you now that this piece is intended to inspire thoughtful consideration , the answers will come from you and will probably change with the passage of time and the pressures of the prevailing social climate.
Street Photography is legal in the UK , however , we should surely set our personal SP barometers a bit higher than the minimal level of being “legal” ! , the morality of certain photographic subjects and circumstances should be considered long before our cameras are raised to our eyes , treating others with respect seems like a good start to me , ask yourself and understand WHY you want to make any particular picture , does your intended capture embarrass , mock or misrepresent the individual or event depicted ?
Street Photography is not expected to meet the high standards of authenticity that photojournalism demands, SP is usually more ambiguous, spontaneous. and candid but is still focused on moments that are real !
What subjects should be off-limits in your own personal ethical photographic manifesto ?
Would you help the injured or photograph a accident ?
Is it morally acceptable for well healed amateur photographers to undertake “poverty Safaris” in search of “good” photographic subjects ?
Is empathy a desirable or undesirable quality in Street Photographers ?
Are you a person first and a photographer second or is the reverse true ?
As a photographer , what are your responsibilities (if any) to those you photograph ?
It’s very easy to get it wrong , I have made captures that I regret, not because of any response on the streets but because I crossed my personal line , on one occasion I juxtaposed a subject in a very unflattering way, I was embarrassed by my own capture, thankfully I saw the error during the edit and decided not to ever publish or share the offending unkind image, I have never repeated this mistake..
Sometimes the intention of a capture can be misread by others, its a fine line we walk, I’m sure most of us have no intention of offending anyone, in short I’m suggesting that we should not allow Street Photography to corrupt our moral compass , just because we have a camera in our hands does not give us the right to behave like amoral morons !
The best pictures don’t offend anyone .
Until next time , keep it real …..