Photography and Ethics

Secular Ethics” that embraces the key ethical principles, such as compassion, tolerance, a sense of caring, consideration of others, and the responsible use of knowledge and power - principles that transcend the barriers between religious believers and non-believers, and followers of this religion or that religion. - Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama: Science at the Crossroads : Ethics is an exercise of taking different perspectives.” - KW

Lately, I have been thinking about photography and ethics. The current project that I have just completed has brought this thought to the forefront of my mind. I was documenting from a photojournalistic perspecitve, local city landscapes and roadways. The purpose of this project is to identify a dedicated source of transportation funding. The problem that I incurred was being true to the ethics required to complete the project while maintaining true to the subject matter. I needed to take on the perspective and intension of the clients while setting aside my own thoughts and judgments of the subject. Initially my view on the subject matter was in agreement with the client’s needs. Throughout the project my view via experiences changed my focal perspective on the subject.

This morning I came across this definition of secular ethics and a few posts back I linked a definition of ethics. Neither definition focuses on the agreed upon view of common sense or simplicities of a single view. When photography become a service we as photographers have to take an all inclusive viewpoint so not to cloud (out of focus) the subject matter; to hold on to our practice of ethics.