Socially Responsible Photography

Socially Responsible Photography

Photography has been around for more than a century and with it comes the responsibility of using photographs in a variety of contexts. As photography has changed, so have its uses and access. Everyone with a camera is capable of taking a photograph that can be used differently. It is important to be aware of the impact that photography may have in society.

As mentioned before, photography is a useful tool to study and document other cultures. As in the example of anthropology and photography, there could be conflicting issues between the photographer and the people of the culture. There are other aspects of social responsibility in the context of culture. It is important to consider what are the values and beliefs about photography in certain cultures. This is particularly important for casual photographers or tourist and travelers that use photography to document their trips. It is important to consider how the camera is perceived in different cultures and how people may be affected by photography in certain cultures.

A socially responsible photographer is one that respects other people’s beliefs about photography. Those beliefs include respecting values, privacy, address needs of society through photography, and being aware of how photography impacts others. The concept of social responsibility in photography depends in the context that photography is being used. There are different definitions for socially responsible photographers depending on what context photography is being implemented. Such differences exist in disciplines such as photojournalism, anthropology, social science research, and cross-cultural reference but also in common and casual photography.

Photography is a very powerful medium to communicate anything. With this power comes the responsibility of using photography to the best interest of society. In the context of addressing society needs, a socially responsible photographer is one that uses photography to send a message about issues that affect our society. One example is using photography to communicate climate change and create awareness about the impact that people are having on the planet. In this instance, the photographer is being responsible about his role in society as a photographer that has access to images such as the one shown to the right.

With the growing field of information technology comes the responsibility of using photography through a medium that can be widely accessible, the Internet. Yet this space is also another opportunity to use photography to address the needs of society. Social media has been widely used for several social movements through images and posts. This is another powerful medium to try to make an impact in society. Social movement such as the one described in the picture above have had a great impact on different aspects of society including creating pressure for policy makers to resolve such social issues. This particular one shown above addresses the issue of children trafficking for sex purposes, in particular the case where 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped in 2014. This is just one example of the many social movements through social media. The use of this medium to create awareness about a particular social issue can be considered to be socially responsible photography.

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Socially Responsible Photography



Ralph Gibson: How to Make a Book

The photography master and Larry Clark cohort explains the magic of the printed page

Source: Ralph Gibson: How to Make a Book | NOWNESS

The photography master and Larry Clark cohort explains the magic of the printed page

“I’ve always wanted to make a film on Ralph because I knew it would be a great excuse to a have private class,” says filmmaker David Luraschi of capturing the master photographer Ralph Gibson at work. “Each time I visit I’m hoping to steal his secrets, but I leave his studio with even more questions.”

“Ralph was nine months late on rent at the Chelsea Hotel before he put out his first book and established himself”

Known for his stark Leica-shot work, How to Make a Book unpicks Gibson’s unique talent for shaping the mise-en-page: the laying out of images within a print publication. Carefully juxtaposing unexpected images across double-page spreads, the resultant diptychs create something independent of their separate parts. Gibson began his career in the 1960s assisting influential photojournalist Dorothea Lange and documentarian Robert Frank, and published his first work, Somnambulist, in 1970, a release which launched his print-making career soon after securing Larry Clark’s seminal book, Tulsa.

“Each time I visit Ralph I’m hoping to steal his secrets, but I leave his studio with even more questions”

Luraschi worked in collaboration with Danilo Parra – the Chilean-American director, recognized for his music videos for A$AP Rocky and the Black Lips – and came to know Gibson and his work through his father. “There’s a picture that my dad took of Ralph sleeping in San Francisco in 1961 where you can tell there’s no sheets,” says Luraschi, known for his popular Instagram series of street snaps taken where all of the subjects are captured from behind. “Two of his Leicas were in the pawn shop, and he was nine months late on rent at the Chelsea Hotel before he put out his first book and established himself.”

How do I take a beautiful photo of space?

It’s a beautiful clear night – the stars are dazzling the sky, the Moon hangs proudly above and Jupiter can even be glimpsed, millions of miles away in space. A majestic roof, fretted with golden fire; it’s the type of scene you’d want to remember forever. Capturing the wonder of the night sky on camera is easier than you think. Some of the most stunning astronomy photos have been taken by amateurs. So how do you go about taking a beautiful photo of space?

BBC iWonder – How do I take a beautiful photo of space?.


No Plastic Sleeves » A Question for Photographers & Educators

No Plastic Sleeves » A Question for Photographers & Educators


by Alex Murchison, professional instructor and image-maker at the Holland College Photography & Digital Imaging program in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

During 2007, I began to think about how digital video would impact my program and my graduates. Video had existed as part of Holland College Photography when I took it over in 1994 but I soon dropped it. I found the quality of both stills and video suffered in a two-year program. Now it was back again in the digital era. Could we include it in the already crowded curriculum? Should we include it? Would we again make poor video and weak stills? How could we include it in a meaningful way for the students? Yes, there was Vincent Laforet with the MarkII and a number of other photographers and filmmakers making big impressions with DSLR video but where did we fit? Lots of questions and not a lot of answers that came to mind.