Photography Ethics

Ultimately, it is the subject matter we cover and the people we photograph that stir the emotions of all who see the image. This special relationship between a photographer and the people we photograph must be one of mutual trust and esteem. Salgado’s criteria for what makes a good picture is this special relationship between the photographer and subject: “the picture is more good or less good in function of the relationship that you have with the people you photograph.”

The privilege to photograph another human being, a sacred event, a place, or a culture, is a gift to the photographer and those who get to view the photograph. Every person has an image of his or herself, something they want to tell others about who they are and how they live. It is not something that I as the photographer can come up with on my own, but rather something truly unique and profound that is being communicated by someone else. I just happened to be there to capture the moment.

“There comes a time when it is not you who is taking the pictures. Something special happens between the photographer and the people he is photographing. He realizes that they are giving the pictures to him.”

~Sebastiao Salgado

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