Going Too Far?

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This photograph was taken by Richard Drew, a member of Associated Press, which shows a man jumping off of the World Trade Center during the event of 9/11 in 2001. This person who remains unidentified jumped off of this building for a reason that’s still remained unknown; however, it seems most likely that the man was trying to escape from the smoke and fire. This still remains an iconic image today because it represents the tragic events that occurred on this day.

When it comes to morals, photojournalists have an obligation to get the one photograph that represents the epitome of an event no matter how hard it is to handle the truth. Many in society are against photojournalists because of this reason; there have been numerous events where photojournalists have signed contracts agreeing to avoid getting involved with the scene they’re shooting, but this has resulted in humans being harmed. This is where the controversial issue becomes apparent because ethics plays a huge role in journalism, especially photojournalism . Photographers are obligated to dedicate their jobs to obtaining pure information without tampering with the scene, even if their morals run into the ability to get the photograph.

For example, one of the largest controversial photographs is the National Geographic image of the african girl crawling to a food camp to get food, but there’s a vulture standing close by eyeing her as its next meal. The photographer, Kevin Carter, had the decision to either save the girl from the vulture or letting nature take its course, and because he signed the contract agreeing to not get involved with the story he chose to take the photograph and leave, resulting in the girl passing away. This photograph won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for feature photography. This distraught image hugely impacted the society in a negative way; many were incredibly displeased with the photographer for not helping the little girl and blaming him for the death of her, but others were able to identify with him and understand that he had an obligation to get the story. Ethics in photojournalism will always be a controversial issue in society because of the multiple levels of morals society has; ultimately, these types of photographs will always have a never-ending ethical issue.

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One thought on “Going Too Far?

  1. i think this is a really interesting post, and you do a really good job of explaining why photojournalism can be controversial. you use really good examples of times where the ethics of photojournalism have been questioned and i think this was a really great idea for a post

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