Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Photographer's Right

Many a time I have come to a scene as a photographer for The Santa Clara and been glared at or shooed out of the way by police officers.

These public events, accidents, etc. are all legal to shoot, but still, there is a certain stigma to taking a picture of a man who has just been stabbed and running it as front page news the next day. It is seen as insensitive perhaps. Really it is simply a journalist's job.

Taking this photo, reporting this issue, running this story is not insensitive, but rather our way of keeping a watchful eye. If we didn't report the travesties of an earthquake, then who would be inclined to prepare for the next one? If we didn't share a politician's indiscretions, then who would scrutinize those running for public office? Airing the world's dirty laundry forces the public to pay attention and take action in order to make a positive change. Journalists are just the ones holding everyone accountable for their actions.

Last quarter in our photojournalism practicum, our adviser, Chuck Barry, brought in this interesting little cheat sheet for photographers. "The Photographer's Right" explains the basic rights of any photojournalist and how to handle tough situations.

Here's to the watchdog, even when he or she gets a bad beat.

(Click to Enlarge)

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