What's new

Photography and ethics

When I took this shot it ws in the middle of a pleasant exchange. I also showed it to the lady and she laughed in surprise and some embarassment. But when I got home and looked at the face, the weakness of age and the fact that this lady must have witnessed the cultural revolution (she's 66) etc, I got to wondering whether showing this would be exploitative. I think if this was in a gallery in The West all anyone would see would be a jingoistic sob-story from behind the wall, so to speak. This got me thinking. Should I show it?
I have had numerous oportunities to take pictures of quite distressing things, but have never felt it appropriate. This is more subtle than that and wrapped up in politics and my reluctance to take a picture of someone which might be viewed in a patronising light.

(as usual it looks pretty ropey online, but it's an ok exposure, honest)


  • $CSC_0052.jpg
    64.3 KB · Views: 100
It looks decent to me . I don't see anything that would seem exploitive . Mind you , I am frae Edinburgh !!!


I see a person who appears to be genuinely happy and has lived a long, and perhaps not so easy life.

Many people in this world are incapable of even faking a smile.
Her's is genuine.
What a very wonderful photograph ! Don't you dare change a thing.

Just let her image speak for herself. Allow her image and this particular moment in time tell her own unique story, whatever that might be.

BTW, I have known many American women of British/European descent that looked much worse for wear at 66 years of age. Yes, she looks as though she has seen and experienced some hard things in life, but hasn't anyone at 66 years unless completely sheltered and pampered?

After all she MIGHT have been through, she still knows how to smile. Yes, she can still smile - what a wonderful, basic human quality that is so lacking in this world!

May God Bless her for that. I wish her all the happiness for the remainder of her days.

Now, had you committed some cheap Photo Shop trick to make her appear much younger than her actual years, then yes, that would be completely unethical.
Last edited:
Thanks very much. It's a bit soft, as I'd been shooting a brightly lit object against dazzling water just beforehand and hadn't re-adjusted the exposure. Got it right a couple of seconds afterwards, with this portrait. This ZINGS on the monitor and will be getting printed.


  • $43 by 28.9cm at 240ppi.jpg
    $43 by 28.9cm at 240ppi.jpg
    41.6 KB · Views: 80
You are very welcome, and again, a wonderful pair of photographs.

I envy you, and wish that I had been were you were in order to capture those moments in time.

Thank you so very much for allowing me to experience just two of the results of your efforts.

If you have any more I would love to see them.
Last edited:
Top Bottom