Responsibilities of a photographer vary with the nature of the work. I am a street photographer and artist. My primary responsibility is, to be honest with myself and my work. The question of what is appropriate and how far is too far is something I always consider. I can’t say I walk on the right side of that line. However, I do try to retrospectively analyze my work and practice to understand better where the line was and what the line meant.
The nature of the photographer, as an artist, comes with challenges. Street photography is commonly confused with journalism. Although there is a documentation of culture, the intent is different. A journalist has a different set of responsibilities. I cannot speak to what they are, as I am not a photojournalist. An artist should only be obligated to one’s self. It has been exciting studying photography and to see so many photographers is different practices reaffirm their chosen set of morals through the photographic process. A significant challenge is releasing yourself from these obligations and being true to the process and art of photography.
The above image was a young man breaking up weed to roll a joint. I thought it was a beautiful, socially relevant moment to capture. I did not once question the nature of the image or the legality of his actions. I am well aware that capturing some photos could lead to legal ramifications. I believe as an artist and human, I will know when the time is not appropriate to capture a photograph… or at least delete it.