The Tricky Expectations of the Photographer/Subject Relationship

Even the language with which we describe the medium—’take’ someone’s picture, ‘capture’ him, ‘shoot’ them—implies a fraught process with an inherent power imbalance. Over the years, photographers have reconsidered what they owe the people in their frames,” Alina Stein writes in her thoughtful piece about photographers and their subjects. The relationship between the two is tricky—both morally and monetarily. For example, compensation for subjects is forbidden by the National Press Photographers Association, but photojournalists and other editorial photographers have varying opinions on how they can make the subject experience something worth their time. Four were asked by Artsy to explain what they feel photographers owe their subjects. They agree that respect is invaluable and mandatory. However, instances where photographers recognized the detrimental effects of a photo and refrained from taking it, told of the humanity at the core of the relationship. Read more at Artsy.

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