The Ethics And Morals Of Photographing The Suffering Of Others

1856 Words Sep 18th, 2016 8 Pages
Introduction to Photojournalism
Ever since photojournalism emerged in the early 20th century as a genre of photography, there has been criticism surrounding the ethics and morals of photographing the suffering of others. So-called “documentary photography” has sparked questioning of the responsibility of a witness of suffering in creating positive change. Critics continue to label certain works of photojournalists as exploitation of impoverished people, while the photojournalists themselves argue that the purpose of their photography is to spark attention, awareness, and change. The ethics of displaying photographs of suffering in the media or in exhibition lies in what these images are being used for. A very direct investigation into this idea is through the photography of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado.
Salgado, who considers himself a “social photographer,” has been highly acclaimed for his work- as well as criticized. He has created several extraordinary projects throughout his career, several of them documenting the suffering of extremely poor and distressed people. His projects “Sahel: the End of the Road,” “Workers,” “Exodus,” and “Migrations” are filled with shocking photographs of humans in the most impoverished regions of the world. His photographs of people on the verge of death contain an intimacy and sheer reality that is impossible to find in photographs displayed in the news and social media. This individualism in each subject that Salgado…

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