Materials from Ethics lesson (2/19)

Here is a bullet-pointed synopsis of John Long’s video, along with some updated thoughts and suggestions:

Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography Study Guide

Also, please read and download the material about issues of “taste” in photographing and publishing potentially controversial photographs depicting death and tragedy:

Lessons in Humanity: The Ethics of Taste in Photojournalism

And lastly, as always, here is the PDF version of the presentation:

Photojournalism Ethics Presentation

NOTE: For those who missed class, make sure you scroll through the presentation and read my presenter’s notes. The associated videos are below.

These are important issues. Like I said in class, your generation will determine how photographs remain credible testimonies in the context of news. Know the issues and think about how to solve some of the problems we experience with credibility in visual journalism.

Expect to see some additional articles posted on the FB group to help you expand your understanding. Hopefully, we can generate further discussion about this.

As always, contact me if you have any questions.

Videos from presentation:

Photoshop CS5 Tutorial Content Aware Fill


Because of copyright restrictions, I cannot post James Nachtwey’s excerpt from “War Photographer.” But here is a link to the video posted on my Google Drive account:

Nachtwey’s Mission (Excerpt from “War Photographer”)



Before next class, watch this video!

In order to participate in class next week – and to pass a short, 5-question quiz at the beginning of class – you need to watch this video:

Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography

First, give yourself an hour. It’s not a short video – it’s an in-depth discussion about the most pressing ethical issues confronting visual journalism today. And the issues might not be exactly what many first think of when discussing ethics in journalism.

Why make you watch a video about ethics instead of simply presenting the issues in class myself? Well, I want everyone to understand that there are some prevailing thoughts and philosophies in the industry. I don’t want you, as students, to simply take the word of one photojournalist from the local newspaper. You need exposure to the thoughts and opinions of important people in the news biz. That’s part of my job as your instructor.

This is a video produced by the National Press Photographers Association in 2006 and features former Hartford Courant photographer and photo editor John Long, who was the NPPA Ethics Chair for over 15 years. While 2006 might seem a little dated (and the production quality of the video is certainly dated), the issues just might be more pressing than ever.

You NEED to watch this video in order to participate in ethical discussions. And I WILL be asking questions and we’ll be looking at a few current examples of the issues and discussing them.

The video isn’t published anywhere on the internet, so – for copyright reasons – I can’t post it on Facebook or the class website.

If you have problems watching it, contact me RIGHT AWAY!

Take notes while you’re watching it. I’ll even let you use them when you take the quiz!

Dave LaBelle: On Storytelling

We watched this video in class, but I wanted to post it in case you wanted to watch it again.

Again, listen carefully as Dave explains how he discovers what he needs to shoot in order to tell someone’s story. Essentially, by talking to your subjects and getting to know them, they will lead you to where the pictures are. And understand the importance of projection. The best journalists, regardless of the medium they work in, learn how to put themselves in another’s shoes in order to tell their stories. And learn the importance of trust. You will never scratch below the surface and be able to move your audience without the trust of your subjects.


I’m including a BONUS video! In the first video, Dave tells us about working with a student during a workshop on a story about a woman caring for her 97-year-old father. In this video, we get to hear an actual conversation between Dave and the student, specifically talking about how to approach the story, the student’s concerns, and Dave’s advice. It’s like being in the huddle with a master coach, and it offers some keen insight into the thought process and problem solving while shooting picture stories. It’s a little longer, but I highly recommend you find a little time to view it. Great advice on shooting and what to look for. Great advice on editing. Just great advice …


Make an investment in your subject. Every picture (in a story) is like a word in a sentence. And never forget this: The secret to great storytelling is to get out of the way!


Think photography is passé? Think again …

I introduced this into the discussion about feature photography, but I could very well use this for any number of discussions about photography. All the buzz created by this Super Bowl commercial really demonstrates the power that still photography has to connect and generate discussion, and that the public really does have an appetite for great photography.

Over on the blog A Photo Editor by Rob Haggart, you can learn more about the commercial and how it was made: The #1 Rated Super Bowl Commercial Shot By 10 Photographers


Video: Learning about the process …

Photojournalism isn’t about mindlessly snapping pictures and haphazardly throwing together a group of them for display. There is a process – a distinct and professional approach – and this course is chiefly about learning about and understanding that process.

If you want to see photojournalism practiced at it’s very best, it still doesn’t get any better than National Geographic.  Watch this video if you want to see how the process ideally works: The Sense Of Sight.

The video is 20 years old. The tools have changed, but the process is the same. Photographers, editors, and designers all play a part in producing meaningful content. We will touch on the teamwork aspect during the course, but pay particularly close attention to what the photographer, Joe McNally, has to say about his approach to shooting a story. And watch how he goes about doing his job.

McNally has an excellent blog and posted some thoughts about the video, which documented his first assignment with The Geographic. Check it out here: Starting Off, Looking Back