Inspired by the uproar over the staged photo included in a series that won a World Press Photo prize (later rescinded, for different reasons), photographer Alex Garcia has posted an ethics quiz for photographers. Garcia describes five situations in which photojournalists can find themselves in ethical gray zones, and asks: What would you do?
What his quiz adds to the current debate is a heavy dose of reality.As Garcia points out, “In this debate, I haven’t seen a lot of candor about how difficult it can be to uphold standards in the myriad of situations that photojournalists face.” Garcia, who says he has shot 6,000 newspaper assignments, tells PDN that he describes two of the situations exactly as they happened to him. The others are mash-ups of problems he’s encountered and that every news photographer will recognize: meddlesome PR people, subjects who offer to rearrange their routines or schedules for the photographer’s convenience, or ask “What do you want me to do?”
How do you portray to your readers what the “truth” is in these situations that you’ve only got an afternoon to shoot?
After the sometimes heated talk about the World Press Photo controversy– and outrage about the photographer posing his cousin– Garcia says, “the quiz was a fun way to make a point without getting hot and bothered.” Garcia’s quiz is short. There are no grades. But he does suggest certain parameters for quiz prep: “Make sure to go hungry for the whole day, pull an all-nighter, promise delivery of images to a client within an hour–just to simulate other factors in a photojournalist’s workday that can affect decision-making.”
You can find it here on his blog, AssignmentChicago.com
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