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To Shoot or Not to Shoot

July 25, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

I know I touched on this subject not that long ago with the "Oh the Places You'll Go" entry back in January, but I read something this week that really brought it home.  What I'm talking about is the decision of a photographer to shoot, or not shoot, in any given situation. 

I read this article (Photographer's Break Kate Middleton Labor News) about the two photographers that caught the royal couple getting out of the car and heading into the delivery center this past week, and they chose to give the Duchess of Cambridge her dignity, and not shoot.  It's a rarity to see photographers opt to not take the shot, and when you add in the media frenzy that was waiting for that exact moment to happen it's heartening to see two photographers who chose not to. 

It's interesting to me to think that there were probably a lot of media outlets that would've paid a lot of money for those shots, but these two chose not to do it.  In the Yahoo article linked above, Parshotam is quoted as saying, "she’s a woman in labour. I just wanted to photograph the commotion and convoy of cars. That was a personal decision we both made. To take a picture of her would have been overstepping the mark."

I admit that I don't normally read Yahoo News, but the wifeling was sitting next to me on her laptop and I happened to glance over and caught the article.  I'm actually kind of glad that I did. 

Whether to take the shot or not is almost always a hard decision.  The biggest factors to me to consider are relevance in the world, and  the humanity and dignity of the subject.  As an American, I'm not as concerned about a royal birth, especially as the monarchy in England has been a figurehead for so many years rather than a by-the-book monarchy, but I can still see where it would have world relevance.  You only have to look at the media camped out in front of the hospital for that last few weeks to see that. 

Dignity and humanity of the subject is the trickier portion.  Some photos will emphasize the humanity, despite degraded conditions.  I'm thinking specifically of the Dorothea Lange photo, "Migrant Mother" from 1936. 

Anyway, that's my two cents for the week.  I apologize for the short post, but it's the summer and I've been especially busy for the last few weeks.


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