ESSENTIAL ETHICS | PHOTOGRAPHY IN PUBLIC SPACE

This year I’ve undertaken a few journalism subjects, in which I have had to find and create stories for the UOWTV page. These stories have had to include filming and photographing certain areas and events, which lead me to my questions on whether or not I was actually allowed to film and photograph these strangers. After finding the Arts Law Centre of Australia’s “Streets Photographer’s Rights” I discovered that it is perfectly legal to film and photograph strangers in public without their permission, as long as I wasn’t using them for commercial purposes.

Joel Colberg believes that practices deemed legal aren’t always ethical. In his article ‘The Ethics of Street Photography’, he states that it is vital to adopt an ethical approach when looking to photograph people in public. You’ll always find that some people will not want their photo taken, and it’s always ethical to take their concerns into consideration. Colberg reiterates that permission is a factor which needs to be considered, and that photographers ‘need to be aware of the ethics they endeavour’.

Upon further research, I stumbled across the NPAA Voice of Visual Journalist’s Code of Ethics, where Colberg’s points are definitely reiterated. They stated that images taken in a public space should be original, yet should not be invasive.

Filming in a public space, and filming people in a public space is ethnography effective, as you can observe others in a place that they’re comfortable in. Through filming in a public space it became evident to me the natural patterns in people’s behaviour. Some people are emerged with mobile technology, that I wasn’t even noticed.

Below is an image where the people I were photographing were not aware that I was taking an image, as they were too involved in their own devices – and I’m sure that the same thing has happened to me in an image before.

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