Photographer Interviews

Photojournalists: On Doing the Right Thing

April 15, 2017

For PDN’s issue on Ethics and Photography (July), we interviewed five photojournalists and a veteran editor about the principles that guide the choices they’ve made while covering stories, and how they view their responsibilities to both subjects and audience. Their perspectives vary, and the topics they discussed are wide-ranging. Excerpts can be found in PDN‘s July issue, and we are also posting full text of their interviews here. Click below to read the full interviews.

Victor J. Blue talks about avoiding conflicts of interest, maintaining journalistic credibility amidst changes in documentary photography, and his views on the photojournalist’s responsibility to readers, subjects, editors and sources, including the people protecting embedded journalists.

Nina Berman, a documentary photographer and an associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, discusses the changes in the editorial market and how it influences the choices photographers make while covering stories, the responsibility of editors, and the principles she teaches her students.

David Guttenfelder, a former AP photographer and now National Geographic contributor, talks about maintaining independence while working as an embedded journalist, his views on new forms of documentary photojournalism, his training in ethics, the changing marketplace and the importance of credibility.

Ed Kashi, a photographer and filmmaker, has worked for both publications and NGOs, including National Geographic, Human Rights Watch, TIME and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In addition to answering our questions, he directed us to a blog post he wrote about earning subjects’ trust, stepping out of the role of neutral observer and the impact photos can have on their subjects.

Sim Chi Yin, who is based in Beijing, shares her perspective of working in a country without a tradition of a free press. She also discussed the relationship she formed during the four years she photographed He Quangui, a former gold miner afflicted with the lung disease silicosis, and her intervention in the life of He and his wife.

Pulitzer Center’s Tom Hundley offers an editor’s perspective and explains the organization’s ethics guidelines.