Everyone has a different approach to photography and very different
reasons for taking photographs. Gail and her partners at Responsible Photography discussed the question 'who is a responsible or ethical photographer?'
For every person asked the answer will no doubt be
different - this is Gail's answer 'It is about who we are, how we behave, and especially about how our
actions, whilst taking photographs, define us. In addition, it is about what we do with our photographs and how we protect our images'.
- Have an open mind - being receptive and unprejudiced is invaluable in making the most of any photography opportunity or experience.
- Are Aware
- we're aware of what's around us, our environment, the nature, birdlife,
and wildlife, our cultures and natural riches. We're aware of the negative influence we could have on the
natural world - and we're aware that what we leave behind for future
generations is our responsibility. (Photography can play an important
role in archiving what will future generations won't get to see.)
- Have Impact
- we all have an impact on the world we live in - our impact on
social and economic demands, the impact we have on the
people we meet, the impact of our actions, the impact of our behaviour, the impact of our choices, the impact of using our camera and taking photographs. Impact crosses Countries,
Economies, Cultures, Heritages and Environments. It's about each of us,
individually, and the impression we leave behind - not the photograph we take away.
- Pay fairly
- pay a fair price, not too much, not too little. Try to buy from
independent people, artisans, businesses, local farmers and shops, or through fair trade
- respect what we see, how we photographically respond to what we see, and most important, respect
people - their traditions, cultures, religious views or
morals, their homelands, environments, and their natural resources, nature and wildlife.
Approach - responsible photographers have lots of enthusiasm but are considerate with their attitude and approach to photography - try to be a photographer who is not voyeuristic, thoughtless or selfish.
Think - Responsible Photographers think about the consequences of how your photographs are used and always retain your copyright.
Think carefully and seriously about how and where you share your
photographs. Most important of all, stop and think about the people you
may have photographed, be that at home or on your travels, and be
respectful of how their image is used or shared - do not compromise
their trust or integrity.
©Gail Ward/Responsible Photography
A tourist group brandishing cameras, mobiles (or even ipads), each trying to outdo the other and
get the best shot, zooming in on people going about their daily lives
without any consideration, making people give inappropriate
demonstrations or ceremonies, speeding up to a village furiously
snapping away, or crowding around a sleeping Cheetah in minibuses to make
sure the 'big 5' are all captured on camera. There is a huge difference between a
'voyeuristic snapper' and a 'responsible photographer'. Travelling on
your own, or in a very tiny group is far more rewarding, resulting in an
experience that is not always just about photography, but about the
whole experience with memories to cherish - that is what Gail hopes you
will enjoy about participating with Responsible Photography.
Photography has guidelines for participants on their workshops, holidays and field trips, and ask you to follow the advice of Responsible Photography
and helpers. Between us, we have long term connections with the
people we meet or stay with, the different communities and
The guidelines are key to the success of all Responsible Photography activities. Regardless of whether you participate with
Responsible Photography or through another photography organisation, please think about
how you approach your photography. And, if
you promise to send someone a photograph you have taken of them,
please do - don't just say you will and then forget because it reflects
and could even harm local relationships. We
not only encourage
an interest in photography but try very hard to make sure that
local participants, hosts and community projects see and are given some of the
photographs taken on RP activities.
- Gail, her partners, guides and helpers provide guidelines for you to follow
so that you can enjoy your photography without compromising the good
connections we have with the locations we visit, the people we meet or
the different projects.
- Gail and her partners always try to make sure that as many people as possible, communities and projects get to see some
of the photographs taken. If you do
promise to send someone a photograph you have taken of them, please do, don't just say it and then forget.(Gail and her partners co-ordinate this!)
- When using your camera be open, talk to people, ask if they mind you taking their photograph, ALWAYS ask an adult's permission before photographing a child (RP discourages the photography of children), respect their answers and wishes. How would you like it if, going about your daily tasks,
someone sticks a camera in your face, clicks the shutter a few times and
then just walks on. It's not on is it?
- Take into account different cultural and social customs.
- Don't disturb wildlife or birdlife just to get a more interesting shot.
think about what you do with your photographs. Is it responsible to put
your photographs, especially photographs
of people, on a social website (e.g. facebook, flickr, twitter,
instagram, snapchat or other free/shared social media platforms) which
may give unrestricted 'usage
rights' to the website/platform owner. Is it right to enter a
exploits use of your image, or worse still, exploits a person you
- Responsible Photography - is about being considerate with your attitude and approach to photography - it is not voyeuristic, thoughtless or selfish. ©Gail Ward Responsible Photography
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All Rights Reserved. All Moral Rights Reserved. No images, text or
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Gail Ward of Responsible Photography. This includes print or electronic
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Responsible Photography partners 2002-18