Are you an ethical photographer?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by invisibleflash, May 12, 2019.

  1. There’s a difference between the emphasis and your emphasis.

    I look at Arbus’s work and do see the humanity in the people she photographed, very much so. This is what I choose to emphasize. I do think a lot of folks saw much of her work as merely shock value. I think whatever shock value it had needn’t be reduced to just that. I actually see it as being meant NOT to shock but rather to be very matter of fact. That people may have been shocked by the directness and matter-of fact-ness of it at first seems to have yielded in time to an empathy for it among many viewers and that seems the more lasting effect and push than any immediate shock.

    While there may be a case to be made that shock value merely for its own sake is shallow, it also may be underestimating Arbus to make the case that whatever shock value her photos may be perceived to have is simply just that.
    Yes, and I said as much by referencing the stalwart nature of Judeo-Christian and natural law values. What hasn’t been around for as long as human history is the application of that principle to people with various differences in physical and mental states, people of different sexual orientations, and people of different races. Photography doesn’t alter the principle. It can, though, bring to the light new applications of it.
    Artists or others who have demons and commit suicide, though their own spirits may be compromised, can still offer light (even through darkness) to others. Art has a cathartic effect and the expression or even the artifice of darkness can be a kind of purge sometimes, leading one to light, if not the artist herself, then the compassionate or empathetic viewer.
  2. I notice as I age, a greater sensitivity to the negative effect of negative imagery.
    It is very real.
    Tangible in fact, in its effect.
  3. That doesn’t surprise me and I think it’s even born out some right here on PN where there seems a preference for pretty sunsets and girls/women, luscious landscapes, colorful flowers, and unthreatening vacation spots over images that challenge and question or show just as truthful but perhaps not as pleasant sides of life.
  4. I am not averse to documentary reality in photography.
    The are limits and I do not place it on the exclusive moralistic pedestal some do.
    I think that is over hyped of late.
    A fact evidenced in the commentary of some of the photographers themselves.
  5. Like you, I rarely place art or photography exclusively on a moralistic plain or pedestal. As a matter of fact, I think Inoneeye's and my posts here are much about the important play and tension between the moral and aesthetic aspects of photography and make clear that ethics is not our sole preoccupation when looking at or making photography.

    Did you understand and can you relate at all to the points I made about pushing ethical boundaries not being a matter of photography changing ethical principles but a matter of of photography being able to make visible some of the ways we haven't been applying those principles? Do you understand that that's how I was using "pushing" and not "eliminating" boundaries?

    Can you relate to the situation that, though you experience a negative effect from negative imagery, some great art (that you might not care to look at for very good personal reasons) might actually act cathartically in showing even created (not documentary) negativity and darkness, so that some viewers are actually en"light"ened and moved by that?
  6. I don’t expect boundaries to be subject to whim.
    By definition, a boundary is a limit.
    Ethics, bound to principles are not fluid, by definition.
    If you want to say you can choose to ignore or test the limit, out of ignorance or outright rebellion, you are correct, until you eventually run smack into the consequences that shut you down.

    As for relating to a habit of seeking out or embracing evil or darkness to find goodness or light, I cannot.
    Life delivers quite enough of the dark to make any attempt to create more, absurd. I have a healthy respect for the boundaries of Chaos. Somehow I don’t buy that people are pedaling poison to heal.
  7. Why do you persist in speaking in generalities and not answering very direct questions about specific situations? You can use terms like "whim" all you like but unless you apply it to something we're specifically talking about, it simply acts as provocation for provocation's sake, something you seem not to particularly care for.

    I keep asking you about specific situations where the boundaries of how we apply ethics to real situation have been moved and you keep responding not to those situations (like interracial marriage and the way we view people of different physical and mental abilities) but by avoiding them and instead referring to the general principles of ethics.

    If you won't answer directly in your next post, I won't ask again and will consider this part of the conversation terminated from my perspective.
    This speaks to your opinion very clearly. We don't have much in common in how we view art or the world.
  8. Well there you have it then.
    A perfect opportunity for you to reflect and question your own suppositions.

  9. Fine. I will do that after reminding you that what you just had was not a conversation or dialogue. You didn't address me or what I said directly, and you continuously deflected and dodged while trying to provoke with words like "whim," "ignorance," and "poison." I'll be quite content with a reflection for a while, or an actual conversation with someone else.
  10. But, but,.......

    That’s Five times in one reply.....
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
  11. Moving On, saying the word "you" five times and characterizing what I said instead of actually specifically addressing what I said is really not having a conversation. Imputing ignorance also isn't addressing the substance of the topic at hand. I asked you six ways from Sunday to specifically address interracial marriage and its relationship to applying ethical boundaries and principles as well as the visibility a photograph can give to mentally and physically disabled people to help change our relationship to fellow humans and you come back with generic (mis)characterizations in the 2nd person. Sorry, that doesn't cut it.
  12. Specifically and directly, in testing, for example, the limits of the ethics of banning or morally condemning interracial marriage, what consequences that "shut you down" has the world run into?
  13. I have been as clear and direct as I can be.
    If my answers do not fit your preconceived template, well just look at it as Art.
    Apply any interpretation you choose.
  14. That is no test of ethical limit.
    That is a test of legal limit.
    Surely you realize the fallacy of your premise.
    You cannot have it both ways
    Or are you being intentionally obtuse for dramatic effect.....
  15. If you don't think there was a moral, aside from the legal, component to society's condemnation of interracial marriage, I don't know what to say.

    I'll leave you with a series of photos that illustrate some of what I'm talking about. The law was in question but the photos made the ethics of it real to a wide audience.

  16. Thank you, by the way, after several hours of requests, for finally addressing the specific question.
  17. I thought the point was obvious......
    But we can put it to a vote or “whim” now and again to see where the ethical boundary lies if you prefer......;)

    You know, like the state whim on slavery, then freedom, then minimum sentencing. Marriage, then divorce, then child support, then daycare, then pain management, then opiate addiction......
    Let’s just hope the ethical boundaries can keep up.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
  18. I don't know what point you're talking about. My point is that photographs of interracial couples helped people who had been condemning interracial couples as a moral abomination to see them as ok and human. That took place while legal battles were. So the point is that the application of ethical boundaries to interracial couples could be pushed by photography.

    I don't know what point you think is obvious.
  19. That ethics and law are not the same thing.....
    I always thought it was a great ironic image.
    The image of God’s 10 Commandments juxtaposed against an American Legal Library......

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