Are you following the ethics of photography?

Ethical issues are pertinent to the profession of photography as it tends to arise over the nature of creativity, representation, ownership and profit and are often confused by the use of new technologies and individual personality.

Absence of ethical rules can even provoke distortion in the information. Though the technological advancement has paved the way for better opportunities and empowerment, it has also brought along with it a new range of problems relating to digital manipulation, legal status of ownership, intellectual property rights etc.

Touching upon such issues, a day-long symposium on ‘Wanted: Ethics in Photography’ was organised by Goa-CAP, Aksgar at Max Mueller Bhawan over the weekend.

The symposium aimed at reflecting the role and relevance of ethics and value in the field of photography, not only to the practitioners but also to institutions like media, colleges, museums and businesses that use the photographs.

It was also intended to develop effective approaches to disseminate and implement across India the outcomes of the symposium. The event provided an opportunity to present research works on all aspects of ethics in photography.

Presenting the topic, ‘Is there any ethics still left?’, Indranil Mukherjee, a photojournalist with an international news agency said, “Ind­ia, being a major hub of photographic activity, does not have a national body that acts as a guardian to the trade and neither are there rules or framework within which one can adhere to”. 

“There are cases where incorrect captioning or misleading information hinders the original essence of a photograph. A photojournalist’s images have documentary aspects in terms of historical importance,” he added.

Commenting on the limits of a photographer, he says “A photographer should know where to draw the line. It is an individual thing”.

Amulya Nagaraj, a Bangalore-based photographer who was presenting the paper “Photography in the Age of Social Media” believes that people rarely think about the consequences of sharing the images on social media. 

Partho Bhowmick, who is the founder of Blind With Camera Project says, “Handling a completely different level of department, we need to explain to the creator about merits and demerits of his/her pictures, so as to make them understand about its further consequences”.

The symposium started on a keynote talk by eminent political scientist and activist, Yogendra Yadav and was moderated by Rashmi Sawhney who is an Associate Professor in Cinema studies in JNU and Shubham Roy Chowdhury of India Foundation for the Arts.

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