Friday, 12 December 2008

Honesty and responsibility

I want to expand on an idea that I posited as a reply to The Landscapist's thoughts on responsibility.

I stated there that the photographer's responsibility is to represent his work with honesty. And the more I think of this idea, the stronger I believe it to be the case. It is something akin to the photo journalistic notion of showing what was actually there without adulteration but is quite a bit broader. it is also more than merely portraying the real, in the sense of the way the world actually appears.

Photography can illuminate through both the real and the abstract. Deliberately abstracting a notion to represent an emotion is fine by me. It is just as photographically valid and relevant. But it must not be presented to be something else. deliberate staging and apssing off as real has no honesty, no integrity. If we cannot trust the photographers honesty of intention, how can we possibly trust the message?

If we wish to connect with an audience, first we have to bring them along with us. For that to happen they must trust in our directions along that journey. It is not just the personal representaion, I believe the work itself must also speak for itself honestly. therein lies our greatest responsibility, for then we can lay out a path to meaning that others will trust to take.


  1. Or maybe we just like to make a pleasing image and present it for others to see should they want to look. No messages, just do I like it or not. That's honest.

    I also visit the Landscapist. I find his images extremely stimulating, though I often don't read the text. I often just like the pictures. That's being honest too.

    I might not be on the same wavelength here, but a good image stands up all by itself. I enjoy being a part of your audience, there's no commitment, judgement or agenda in doing this. I just like following your journey and being a part of the "community" even though I don't participate too much. Hope that makes sense!

  2. Colin, that certainly makes sense. No problem with you (or anyone) just enjoying images for what they are, even if I might be trying to say something more. And like the Landscapist says, no problem with others just trying to create nice pictures, too.
    The more I get into this, though, the more I realise that I have some things to say with my photography.

  3. What you say is often true, certainly when trying to convey a message, but I find myself looking at photos sometimes and just admiring them because they're, for want of a better word, pretty. I'm a massive fan of photography of landscapes etc, so the message tends to be less important.

    I do, however, appreciate the point you raise...


I like comments, especially constructive ones.
Comments get emailed directly to me before publishing , so if you want to get in touch drop a comment.
All comments moderated by me before being published, keeps the spam at bay.