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



Munem Wasif

Agence VU – Munem Wasif

Munem Wasif

Born in 1983 in Bangladesh. He is a graduate of Pathshala.

Wasif began his career in photography as a feature photographer for the Daily Star, a leading English daily in Bangladesh. His photographs have been published in numerous national and international publications including Le Monde, Himal Southasian, Asian Geographic, Photo District News, Zonezero, PDFX12 and the Daily Star.

In 2007, he was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in the Netherlands. He won an “Honorable Mention” in the All Roads Photography Program from the National Geographic Society for his extensive work on Old Dhaka.

His work is exhibited worldwide including in the Anchor Photo Festival in Cambodia, the International Photography Biennial of the Islamic World in Iran, Fotofreo- Festival of Photography in Australia, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Japan and Getty image gallery in England. Recently he was elected as one of the 30 emerging photographers by Photo District News, USA.

In 2008 he received the F25 Prize from La Fabrica and the Young Reporter Award from the City of Perpignan during the Visa pour l’Image festival. He also won the PrixPictet commission to document a water project in Bangladesh.

He is now teaching documentary photography at Pathshala South Asian Media Academy.

Daniel Beltrá | PORTFOLIO

Daniel Beltrá | PORTFOLIO

The fragile state of our ecosystems is a continuous thread throughout my work. It is in nature’s beauty and complexity that I find my inspiration. My photographs show the vast scale of transformation our world is under from man-made stresses. To capture this, I have found it is often best to work from the air, which more easily allows for the juxtaposition of nature with the destruction wrought by unsustainable development. Aerial photography gives a unique perspective emphasizing that the Earth and its resources are finite.

By taking viewers to remote locations where man and nature are at odds, I hope to instill a deeper appreciation for the precarious balance our lifestyle has placed on the planet.