Research: Working ethically

This module is concerned with the ethics of photographing others and asks us to examine the practise of making images of people who are often in less fortunate circumstances than ourselves.  As well, we look at our western-centric imperialist history which, it can be argued, has the role of photography at its core.

The following article may be useful to quote from as Nina Berman, photographer and teacher explores how ethical practise impacts on photographers today. She rightly points out; “More and more it seems to me, photographers are championed and given accolades for presenting themselves as advocates and do good-ers. It’s, “Oh look, they’re not just showing what is happening in the world, but they also care and are trying to do something about it,” beyond the publication.” (2017) The other thing we should be aware of is how photographers who are acutely aware of all the issues and understand them inside out are most likely to have been in the privileged position of having been educated in the fist place. And that sometimes, as in every field, spoken and unspoken rules can be dogmatic and even parochial.

In this module I am exploring an ethical practise across the board, from how I send emails from my OCA address to the way I plan assignments. I imagine at the end of it I will have some questions about how this impacts on the work I’m making and when, if ever, there should be a time to drop an ethical stance.


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