Ethics and Respect in Photography

Ethics and respect – two words you probably wouldn’t have thought went together when taking photos. These two words are important to consider when going out and catching those candid photos of the people around you.

There is an issue of consent when it comes to taking a photo of someone on the street that you don’t particularly know. If someone doesn’t want their photo to be taken and expresses this idea to you after you have just taken a great shot what would you do? Would you respect their wishes and delete the photos that they are in? Would you show them the photo and explain why you need it? Or would you outright refuse to delete it?

For this week’s blog post I went out to the university to take some photos and had a dig through some photos on my phone to further have a look at the ethics of photography.




Now when taking these photos, I must admit that I felt a big odd. The ones taken out at the university were taken in a way that I tried to get as many people in the shot as possible. When looking further into the legal background of photography involving the general public, the privacy act protects personal information that is held or collection for inclusion in a record. A record is defined to include a photograph or other representations of a person. It’s said that if a person’s identity is apparent in a photograph or other image then the collection use and disclosure of that image is covered by the privacy act. However, the coverage of images is limited by the scope of the Privacy Act – so if the individual is acting in their private capacity, the image is still not covered. If the image was taken by someone acting on behalf of a small business this is also the case.

So when taking the photos at university I was careful not to get too close to people so that you couldn’t really see their faces. As well as this I also tried to take photos of people when their backs were turned and you couldn’t directly see who they were. In doing this I tried to protect the privacy of the people in the photo. I didn’t, however, think it was necessary to ask everybody that was in the shot whether it was okay or not to use the photo because as I said previously you couldn’t really identify them in the shot. If I was to take a portrait of someone or just a casual candid photo where you could tell who they were asking them and being careful in the way that they are presented would be a priority.




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