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Photography Art and Ethics

When it comes to photography philosophy, there still isn’t enough introspection and thought on the matters:

  1. When should you *not* shoot photos of something and someone?
  2. When should you and should you *not* upload photos of something or someone … especially when it comes to matters of ‘permission’?
  3. If you find a photograph great, and could benefit ‘humanity at large’, yet the subject doesn’t want you to upload the photo, and you upload/share it anyways … it is ‘ok’ or ‘justified’?

Some quick thoughts:

Follow your personal philosophy

When it comes to ethics, it is all subjective. For myself, I typically think that the greater good of humanity is more important than the individual opinion. For example if I had a photograph which I thought would inspire and motivate and move millions of people, yet be against the desire of one, I would still probably photograph it and share it.

How would you feel like if you were in their shoes?

Typically the ‘silver rule’ of ethics (Nassim Taleb) follows the gist:

Don’t do unto others as you don’t want others to do unto you.

For example, if I don’t like being photographed by strangers, I probably shouldn’t photograph strangers.

But what if I *LIKE* being photographed by strangers? Then in this case, I personally don’t have any qualms if strangers don’t like photographing me.

Thus from an ethical perspective, it seems:

If you desire to photograph others in a certain way, you should also be comfortable to being photographed that way.

On asking for permission

Then also:

When you are doubtful of how a person will feel about you uploading their photo … what should you do?

I say:

Better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.

If we always had to ask for permission to do everything and anything … we could never get anything done.

Deeper thought is needed

We talk much and produce much information on how to best photograph, but there still needs to be more of these types of questions answered:

  1. *WHY* photograph?
  2. How should one photograph others? And does this even matter?
  3. Why is photography important to humanity?
  4. Does the opinion of the individual matter if the photos you make are a ‘net positive’ to society and humanity at large?

Think on!


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