Photographer Interviews

How Photographers Protect Vulnerable Subjects From Harm

September 4, 2012

By Holly Stuart Hughes

© Lynsey Addario/VII for The New York Times

Farzana is helped to stand up by her mother at home, as they prepare to go to a private clinic in Herat, Afghanistan, August 5, 2010. Farzana tried to commit suicide by self-immolation after being beaten by her in-laws. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Afghan women commit suicide by self-immolation each year to escape abusive marriages and in-laws; divorce is considered too shameful an option.

When covering sensitive stories, photojournalists have to assure their subjects that by being photographed, they won’t put themselves in jeopardy. But at a time when the reach of the internet and social media extends even into remote places, photojournalists have little control over where their images will be posted or who might see them—the subject’s enemies, the community or family...

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