22 September 2010

Photo Ethics

Last night, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of the people that I often cite here.  However, it is a conversation that I had with Lina Srivastava that has caused me to think more about the ethics of sharing photos.  In discussing my exchange and post with Smile Train, Lina told me a story of how a professional photo was published and she was disappointed in the choice made.  She connected it to the people featured in advertisements who do not even get to see the final image and how it is used.

As I chewed further on her ideas, I began to think of how much control we have over our own images.  Take Facebook for example.  If someone posts a photo, you can untag yourself if you do not want it to be linked to your profile.  If you dislike the photo enough you can request that the person take it down and there is even recourse to file a request for the removal of the photo on Facebook.  You may also, something I personally do, choose to not have your profile like to photos that have been tagged of you.

We will look at pictures immediately after they are taken to see if we look good and decide if it should be retaken, deleted, saved, posted to Facebook and so on.  There are a lot of controls that we can exert over this process.  If we feel that we have been misrepresented, we can add a comment. So, what about the people who do not see how their images are used?  What about the family who has a slew of pictures taken with them going about their daily lives and the images chosen to be shared by a photographer or organization or editor are ones of the family looking sad and depressed.  Where is there ability to untag the picture?  Who can they notify when they are unhappy with how they are being represented?