Ethics

As a Senior Fellow of the international League of Conservation Photographer (iLCP) ethics committee, I am of course bound by their ethical guidelines (which I helped write as co-chair of the ethics committee).

There can be found in the following link, https://www.conservationphotographers.org/ethics, and basically comes down to the following:

  • Minimise negative impacts
  • Honesty, authenticity, and accuracy
  • Respectfulness
  • Integrity and Professionalism
  • Accountability

In my mind, in conservation, wildlife and animal welfare photography, I sometimes find it easy to basically ask:

1) What impact does taking the photograph have – both at the actual time of capture (e.g. could it stress an animal, change its behaviour), and in the future (e.g. do the images use help conservation and wildlife, do your behaviours impact others etc.).
2) Is the photograph honest – does it give a fair representation of what was there or what was happening at the time.

The answers to these questions are not always as simple as they appear, however I think a good place to start is by always keeping in mind the four virtues of:
> Empathy
> Gentleness
> Compassion – or some might say kindness
> Transparency  – in what you have done and what you have created.

Sometimes there is a lot to consider, your ego can get involved, there is pressure from clients, but I find what can really help is simply asking  ‘What would a good person do?’

Some articles I have been involved with regarding ethics can be found below.

A light touch
Reflections on using additional light when photographing wildlife

Winning at What Cost? The staging of wildlife in photography competitions
For some thoughts on this issue by myself and iLCP staff member Brooke McDonough, please clock on the following link here.

8 Common Ethical Mistakes in Wildlife Photography (and how to fix them)
Some thoughts by from myself and other iLCP fellows published by Feature Shoot (link here)