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I would love, love, love to hear from documentary/journalistic/street photographers on the subject of code/ethics. I think all three would have different answers - but I’d be curious what their respective “line” is.

I run into this dilemma *at least* a couple times whenever I’m out shooting. I see something that would be a major shot and I just won’t take it due to an ambiguous “line” I’ve drawn for myself.

@pjonori The dilemma I have is that a lot of great photos (the ones that gut punch you) are often great in part because they live in this ethical gray-area. They’re not the sort of thing that’s often photographed because of the social discomfort.

That in no way sways me to take those photos - we all need to have a code and be able to stand by the rationale of our output - but I’d like to peer into the decision-making process when great photographers are going put in front of that situation.

@pjonori I've been in that situation a couple of times, and depending on the exact nature of the situation I either shoot first, contemplate later, or lower the camera. You kind of just know when it would be really inappropriate to shoot it.

On the other hand, if you don't shoot it, you can't change your mind on reflection.

@david Yeah, I think about that a lot. You don’t have to publish everything you photograph. But the fact of the matter is that it still exists and maybe it shouldn’t.

This seems like one of those subjects that doesn’t have a right answer. We all just need to come up with our own code that we feel comfortable with.

@pjonori Indeed, there are many a famous photo that probably "shouldn't" have been taken, but the world is probably better because they were. (the naked girl running from the napalmed village in Vietnam comes to mind).

@david I 100% think photos like that needed to be taken. I’m under no delusions that my photos are even remotely close to that level of importance.

@pjonori just quickly... I contract shoot for local papers, and at any emergency situation I
Iiaise with the emergency controller before I even get my camera. Then I’m under his direction at that incident. I don’t take pics that include bodies, even though the News helicopters are hovering above filming everything.

@gregcarrick Thanks for the reply - that's super interesting! And man, I haven't personally run into the situation of photographing death. That's on a whole other level.

Out of curiosity, is your decision to not photograph bodies a personal one or is it a directive? That would definitely be over my own-defined "line".

@pjonori it’s both... I don’t see the need to show a victim when a crushed or burnt car does the job, and I doubt the papers will print the shot anyway

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