This morning I received an email from a person who had seen my site and the image of a girl who has scarred herself through self-harm.
Not receiving mail on this image very often, I was interested to hear what the person had to say but found that I was being involved in part of their harming process. The mail contained a request to make the person “famous” and included two images of their fresh injuries and a photo of the sender. Aside from sending a link to a support group, it’s hard to think what else I should say. In a way, this is a similar situation to the dead horse comments as it is being assumed that I can offer some answers/help/support to a stranger just because I shot the image. However, when safety and injury are involved, it’s hard to just dismiss it.
When a photographer shares an image, does that make them responsible in any way to justify it or is their job completed purely by displaying it? It’s easy to assume the latter is correct but can this just lead to people shooting images with no message or intention other than to shock? I know this happens all the time in the art world but for press photography, are the rules any different?
Despite my questions, I know where I stand on this subject as I believe that each story needs it’s own consideration and thought. Sometimes, you just have to trust in the strength of the viewer.