Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/29

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Subject: Re: [Leica] kyle's lost his @#$@#$! mind - week 35
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 10:27:42 EDT

In a message dated 8/28/00 9:24:38 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 

<<  standing by and
 watching, even more profiting from it, is a very destructive thing to
 have done. >>

Ethics are an integral part of every profession.  If the purpose were to 
expose, particularly if on a non-profit basis, a problem hidden generally 
from the public and requiring public notice in order to generate a 
constructive or remedial response, then the photographer would be a crusading 
journalist rather than a voyeur.  As noted, in order to have such an effect, 
such photography must be sensitive, sympathetic and generally of the highest 
calibre.  Anything less is at risk of looking more like a "snuff" film than 
the work of W. Eugene Smith.
Susan Sontag wrote an interesting treatise in 1973, entitled "On 
Photography", which consists of a number of essays on related themes 
centering on photographic ethics.  Rather than paraphrase, I will stop at 
suggesting the book's relevance to the subject at hand.
As to the photographs in question, I believe it would be fair to suggest that 
they were not evidently taken for publication but only as an academic 
exercise.  They appear to serve that purpose at least adequately.  Further, 
in light of the writer's analysis of the underlying behavioral aberration, it 
would be appropriate if not necessary to consider what, if any, form of 
intervention might be called for, as to the subject herself.  Of course, that 
inquiry most likely leads to a number of ethical questions, both for the 
photographer and the mental health professional.

Joe Sobel