There was a large turn-out for our November meeting where the subject of crossing the line in photography was discussed. It very soon became clear that everybody’s line was drawn in the sand in a different place – what one person felt unhappy photographing, another wouldn’t bat an eyelid when pressing the shutter release! It is fair to say though, that everyone was aware of their own limits beyond which they would not venture. The images shown ranged from the hilarious to the moving but for the most part, shared an authenticity and awareness of sometimes delicate situations.
Subjects included candid portraits of strangers in unflattering poses; portraits of friends or relations at vulnerable times in their lives; pictures of a personal nature relating to illness or death; photographs where consent was withheld or where the subject was unable to give informed consent; photographs involving tongue-in-cheek nudity reversing stereotypical gender roles; images where the photographer imposed their will on the subjects to make a particular point; photoshopping people out of the frame; pictures where the photographer crossed their own line in terms of authenticity.
Obviously in this day and age where the sharing of images on the internet is so ubiquitous, issues of invasion of privacy take on a greater significance but it was generally agreed that there are not many situations in the public realm which are totally out of bounds. It was suggested that as photographers, we should respect ‘private moments’ which take place in public and that perhaps we should ask ourselves ‘would we mind if someone did it to us?’ However, if that were the generally accepted rule, some of the most iconic shots and hard-hitting photojournalism of the past would never have seen the light of day. Now you can make up your own mind as to whether you think any lines have been crossed……
From the series Equal Oppor-nudities by David Reed
A photograph I hate by Hugh Look
97 and counting by Sue Czapska
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Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday 7th December at 18.45 at the usual venue – The Artworkers Guild, 6 Queens Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AT. Our topic for discussion will be When (lack of) technique gets in the way – investigating the idea of so-called ‘technical failure’ and ‘flaws’ in photographs and whether it matters. As usual if you would like to show examples either of your own or of the work of others which demonstrate these issues, please bring along up to 6 images either as prints or on a memory stick.