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I've been wondering this for quite some time now and I'm not sure how to word it in an intelligent way a philosopher may like to be asked.

But I have been practicing photography for quite some time now and am currently studing it. My main interest is social documentary...i think it's important to document what it is today.

My question is (and I'll try my best). Is it right for someone to document something and not interfere. Not help. Just watch? I'm thinking of this as there is a famous photographer who shot a world famous photo of a child and a vulture in Africa, Kevin Carter was the photographer if you would like to look it up, he never helped the child, was that right, I don't think he was allowed to interfere with things like that.

But let's say even the likes of a war, documenting it, is it right to sit on the fence and observe someone being shot without doing anything about it?

I suppose the question is, is it ok just to observe and not interfere when it is probably morally right to do so. I dont think I could not interfere with something I see as wrong, as much as it is important to document events like disasters and war, would Ibe looked down upon for just taking a photograph and not assisting? Recording something is in my opinon, important.

Sorry if that was too long...I just find it hard to explain..

October 13, 2009

Response from Oliver Leaman on October 16, 2009
You put the point very clearly, and yet it is not clear to me why a photographer would feel that he or she could not intervene in a situation where such intervention would be helpful. Of course, by recording the event one is perhaps setting up a wider response to it which is going to put events like that within a context that may discourage them in the future. The viewing public may be horrified and so prevent their recurrence. On the other hand, if one can help an innocent person then surely one ought to do so, and taking a photograph as opposed to helping would be difficult to justify, since even if one's profession was photography, the individual is not thereby excused from normal human morality. If on the other hand there is nothing one can do, or at least nothing one could do without undergoing huge risks, then recording the event is the next best thing, if one has that sort of skill.


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