Photography and depicting reality

Photography gives us a chance to capture a moment and preserve it for years to years to come. Up to now we are able to see, interpret and almost experience events that happened 200 years ago through preserved photographs. However, if one is especially venturing into photojournalism, one must find a way to capture moments while upholding ethics such as minimizing harm, telling the truth and the list goes on.

This brings the question…

How can a journalist capture issues such as tragedy and violence in way that does not harm the society but brings out the reality of an event?

In the time of the Westgate attack, images of the bodies of the victims were circulated in the web and even in the newspapers. On top of that, documentaries were made regarding this issue without Warning disclaimers of the images that were going to be shown. Ok maybe one could argue that the images were not graphic ‘enough’ and that’s why it was not a major ethical issue. But even so, I personally think that even if that is the case one should always put a warning disclaimer to mentally prepare those who may be very sensitive to such things.

What about the really graphic photos? Nowadays, with the Internet its almost easy to circulate graphic photos even though they may not be put on broadcast news or newspapers. I remember an event where i went through my whatsApp feed and saw a graphic photo which traumatized my life. This shows that this ethical issue goes beyond journalists… it is something every citizen should know about since we all take part in sharing and spreading information.

How about reenacting a traumatizing event like violence?

I think first of all one should consider the target audience. If your target audience consists of a wide variety ages then there must be a lot of sensitivity when depicting violence. If, lets say, one is killing someone with a weapon, you can show the person using the weapon without focusing on the dying victim… therefore, people get the picture of whats going on without it showing too much. The good thing with photography is that one can get a whole story just from the way a picture is depicted as their minds automatically feel in the gaps.

That’s all for today. Tell me what you think!



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