Having just returned from an eight-day (and partially laptop-less) speaking tour that has me about ten posts behind, it was nice to have Steve-O-in-NJ deliver a textbook Comment of the Day, expanding on the original post with relevant and useful observations about photography -obsessed parents and photography ethics.
I do object from an ethical standpoint to his tit-for-tat endorsing last line.
Here is his good and thoughtful work in response to the post, “A Daughter Sues Her Parents For Being Assholes. Good.”
What are the ethics of taking 500 pictures of your child? I wish that I could say that the ethics of taking large numbers of pictures are always the same but they are not. I am in the middle of a two-week vacation and I have been taking a large number of pictures. I see absolutely nothing wrong with shooting a large number of pictures during an air show, particularly where the opportunity to get a particular shot is very limited. I see absolutely nothing wrong with taking a large number of pictures at a place like Colonial Williamsburg, where the actors are deliberately dressed up in costumes designed to attract attention. The same ethics generally applies to any event where there are costumed individuals who are seeking attention. The same ethics probably apply to sporting events. Of course the shooting of inanimate objects like in a museum is perfectly all right, subject to whatever policies the institution puts in place and makes known.
As for shooting multiple pictures of the ordinary people in your life, different rules apply. The most obvious is to listen to the objections of those who can voice them. The second is moderation. The third is thinking ahead. The last is discernment.
Ask yourself is it necessary to capture every smile, every diaper change, every moment falling asleep, every this, every that? Ask yourself if any of these pictures will matter to anyone but you down the line. Ask yourself is anyone or anything but your vanity served by putting those pictures on public display? 9 times out of 10 the answer is going to be no.
The Golden Rule should also apply. We all had awkward stages and embarrassing moments growing up. Those aren’t who and what we are as adults. Would any of us want images of ourselves bare-ass naked at 3 or with freckles and braces at 10 or crying over something that seems silly now but didn’t then plastered where anyone could see them? Probably not. Yet most parents seem to think it’s OK to do just that, as well as tell embarrassing stories about their kids, sometimes just to make the kids squirm.
…Sometimes it’s the kids’ right to have the last laugh when the door of the nursing home closes on the parent who embarrassed them every chance they got.