Today we had the privilege to meet Pulitzer prize photographer Judy Walgren, who taught us the importance of images and visual content. She also gave us tips to take better pictures and do awesome portraits.
She made us think about the ethical issues behind publishing and taking a photograph. She showed us a picture of a drowned boy and his family looking at his dead body while crying. The boy died in a public pool because there were no lifeguards due to a lack of fundings. Then she asked:
That was a difficult question because every decision would have a consequence on the audience and the family involved.
If we publish the picture, it would cause big impact and probably encourage changes or improvements so that this won’t happen again. But at the same time, what happens with that family and its privacy? Is it ok to use this picture of them as a tool for promoting changes?
And if we decide not to publish, would anybody notice?
At the time, this picture was actually published and it caused a change in the regulations of lifeguards, making it mandatory that there is always one working when people swim.
For Judy this type of situation is really hard to manage and she recommended that we always reflect before publishing any picture. But the most important tip is: always take the picture, then you can decide whether you publish it or not.