The question of whether or not it is ethical to take photos of minors, sick people, and those that are injured, has been discussed greatly over the past years. Photojournalists and critics alike have been asking if the photos that are being taken actually do anything to assist those people. The photos can, in a way, assist the people that are poor, injured, starving, etc. They can help by informing readers and viewers of the state in which these people live. Without informing the world of their sad state, these people may never receive help from anyone. Therefore, the photos that are taken of the poor, starving, and injured can be seen as ethical, because they are helping the people that need help the most. It doesn’t get much more ethical than that.
The photo of an Afghan girl presented in the featured image, dubbed Green Eyes by many critics, was taken by Steve McCurry in 1985. It appeared first on the cover of National Geographic that year. With this photo, and the article that corresponds, the readers get an idea of what is really happening in Afghanistan. Although the picture may be fairly light, the impact it made was astounding, causing discussion all over the world about the current predicament of Afghanistan.
On June 8, 1972, a South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its napalm payload onto troops and innocent civilians. This was an attempt to bomb suspected Viet Cong hiding places. Without a photojournalist at the scene to document such tragedies, people in modern day would never know the true horror for Southern Vietnamese people on this day.
In 1989, the Chinese Government declared war on its own citizens. Without this beautiful video compiled by the Chinese Student Democracy Movement, people would have little idea of what really occurred during 1989. The information as gruesome as it may appear, informed the entirety of the world of this brutal outbreak of government. Find the video clip below.
For years, Ethiopian people have gone through starvation, and a corrupt government. Living in remote locations riddled with malnourishment and wretched conditions, people may never hear of these poor souls if not for journalists presenting them. Find more here: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/06/ethiopia_in_food_crisis_once_m.html
Overall, the ethics of photojournalists should not come into question when reporting news such as this. While the world continues to be in crisis, and its people continue to need help, photojournalists around the world can do their part by opening up the eyes of people across the continents. No way better to do that, than a photo.