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Does the public care about ethics? Pt 2

May 4, 2007 by Mark Cornelison  
Filed under Mark Cornelison

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      Since my post the other day, which I understand was a little too wordy, and not enough photos. I have gotten a lot of emails, and some blog posts (see below) about other things people have seen.

      At Talladega last weekend, A photographer I know was there and said that after Jeff Gordon got the trophy and the celebration was done that someone yelled for him to get back on the car, hold up his finger and continue the celebration so they could get the shot. The funny thing is apparently as Gordon listened he actually asked the photographers if they were serious. Once he realized they were serious, he did as the photographer asked he was standing there saying out loud " OK here I am letting you do your set up photo". One person in on the shoot said they were doing it for the corporate shooter and some others who didn’t get the shot. My answer to that is they should hire someone who can get you the shot the first time when it really happens.   Who can tell me that any of this is right?

      I am currently in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. Just today we had a big photo meeting about how and where photographers could put remote cameras during the race, and how the winners circle would be handled after the race. I kid you not, the producer said that NBC needed to get what they needed first then he would gather everyone together with the trophy for us to all get our shots.  The big problem here is in a situation like the Ky. Derby winners circle there are people yelling for the jockeys and owners to do things. If the do what people are yelling should we still shoot it? The gut tells you not to shoot but the reality is if you don’t shoot you don’t have the photo. If you don’t have the photo yourself, then the editors see the photo on a wire service and then they use the wire service photo. The end result is the photo gets used and you feel like you failed because you didn’t have it when asked for.

    Let me hear some more stories! To be continued…


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One Response to “Does the public care about ethics? Pt 2”
  1. Karen says:

    As a member of the general public, I would say, yes, the public does care about ethics. However, that might mean something totally different to someone not involved in actually taking the photo. Asking someone to recreate a “spontaneous moment” is definitely a gray area, as is creating such a moment. But I’m not sure the majority of the so-called “public” would classify it as unethical. I definitely consider it unprofessional.

    Unethical brings to mind things like manipulating the image in Photoshop by adding or subtracting elements, falsifying facts about a picture, or setting up photos and passing them off as unposed (much as the original photo at Keeneland that started this discussion and definitely in the case of someone creating a documentary). I don’t think anyone thinks that a person in the winner’s circle of an event is totally ignoring the camera, so I doubt the average person would actually label it unethical if a photographer instructed someone to turn a certain way.

    I personally do feel that it is wrong for a photographer supposedly practicing photojournalism to create a photo opportunity as I do expect news photos to be totally accurate, but I have several friends who are professional photojournalists so my general public viewpoint may be clouded a bit. I think it’s hard for the most people to understand why there are certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed when there’s also the question of why it’s okay to manipulate some things in a photo (with distorting lenses or slow shutter speeds) but not others … or why there’s a lot more leeway with feature photos. That’s what makes a professional photographer professional.

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