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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Sustainable Prospects – Ethical Practice

When carrying out shoots for the ‘Behind the Mask’ project, I always maintain total respect for the participants I am photographing.

Prior to the shoot

  1. We discuss the intent of the project and exactly what the process will involve. There is also a project information sheet that fully explains the whole experience. I am concern with the emotional impact of the work.

  2. We also discuss and agree the dissemination of the images. The participants have every opportunity to opt in or out of aspects of this dissemination.

During the shoot

  1. The participants read and sign an image release contract amending the wording as they wish to suit their own needs.

  2. At all stages of the process, the participants are given the opportunity to back out.

  3. The unmasked part of the shoot is the hardest part for all participants.  They are offered the opportunity to have their hands over their faces for these shots.

  4. I always listen to what they need to say and make sure that I am aware of the emotional state of the participants when they are talking to me.

  5. Together, the participant and I, look at the images on the back of the camera to make sure that we have captured their story as they wish it to be.  We usually agree on the images to be used.

  6. If at any point a participant decides they don’t want their photograph taken or used, I would respect their wishes.

After the shoot

  1. I edit and send the participant their ‘happy’ or normal face portraits.  I send them my compilation image so that they know what to expect and they then can choose to have their image sent to them.

  2. I then send them a link to the blog post and let them read/change it as necessary.  The blog post is not shared anywhere else.

  3. I always ask for consent before sharing any images, this is even with the signed agreement.  This gives the participant chance to change their mind about any aspect of the project.  This is because the information they have shared is very personal.

  4. If the participant wishes to share their blog post, then they are able to do so.

  5. I ensure that I contextualise the resultant images so as not to contribute to stereotypes or generalisations that surround the issues that the participants have chosen to reveal.

  6. At all times I respect the courage of the participants and respect their wishes with regards to the project and the resultant images.

Privacy and Confidentiality

  1. Each participant has the opportunity to either be named or remain anonymous in the project. At all times, their privacy is protected as surnames are not revealed unless the participant chooses to do so themselves.

  2. I am always considerate of the situation I am photographing, and often put the camera down in order to make eye contact when listening to them.

  3. I will never take advantage of a person’s trust. If they have asked for privacy or confidentiality regarding their identity or circumstances, I will respect their wishes.

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