Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Assignment 2

After reading the text excerpt "Ethics and Photojournalism" from the chapter called "Contemporary Issues", the issue of Communication vs Exploitation became very vivid to me.
The author raises issues in the text, stating that when he was looking at his photos he "was not absolutely certain the work truly communicated, rather than exploited". I think this is a very valid point given the topics that photojournalism generally explores in this day and age. As a majority, photojournalists these day explore negative topics that can easily fall into the trap of being exploitative, or appearing exploitative. The context of the photo is important when deliberating the message being conveyed by the photograph too. For example: when taking photos of people in need, is the camera just shot at the subject and then the subject forgotten about, or does the photo result in direct action that wouldn't of been explored unless the photo was taken and displayed.
Photojournalists need to understand that they hold the key to a very powerful medium and that the line between communication and exploitation within photography is very thin.

Prize winning image by Kevin Carter; who was ambushed by questions of why he never helped the girl he was photographing, arguably being exploitative. However I think with this 'exploitation' comes a massive share of communication as well. This image is now viral among the internet and the public alike, and hence has communicated a strong message just by being viewed. A very powerful image.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - this is a very moving image, indeed. I did read the controversy of when it happened and you ask relevant questions about it. The assumption is that a tragic image moves a viewer to action - but some would say we (and the photographers too) suffer now of compassion fatigue. But Kaplan argues that images can change history and therefore the ethics are crucial.