"The Role Of Documentary Photography" by John Simpson

August 27th, 2023

This article really got me thinking about the morality of photography, something that we all should think about but often do not, and it should be a consideration in all that we do as photographers. The photographs are very good but the text is important, for example one section stood out especially for me:

"To accomplish my self-appointed task of documenting the growing number of homeless people in Olympia, I begin by standing or sitting nearby and striking up a conversation. Some have nothing to say to me; others will have a story to tell. I sit and listen. Whether or not their stories are accurate is irrelevant; they are telling me their story. I will ask if I can make some images of them at an appropriate moment.
The majority say yes, and a few images are made. A few say no, often citing that they don’t want family members to see them or the law to find them. Most comment that they appreciate the respect of being asked. Either way, I thank them for their time."

It is that sentence "Most comment that they appreciate the respect of being asked".

Respect for our subject, no matter what that is, is important and it is something I am not always mindful of, I think that is something I need to work on (it is also probably the reason the work of Bruce Gilden makes me uncomfortable).

August 27th, 2023
ThNk you for sharing this Andrew.
August 27th, 2023
So interesting and thought provoking. Thank you for the link.
August 27th, 2023
Thanks for sharing the link and your thoughts. Provoked my thinking as well.
August 27th, 2023
fascinating information and perspective. Thanks for sharing with us
August 28th, 2023
Good read, I love documentary photography, however, my rule is not taking homeless people, especially for this forum.
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