This year my personal project is based on Felicia Chang‘s breakout class from Clickin Moms titled Documenting the Unapologetic Life. Her class was geared for photographers and hobbyists interested in documentary style family photography and in it she referred to the National Press Photographers Association code of ethics. Below is Felicia’s interpretation of the code of ethics specifically for documentary family photography. It is reprinted here with her permission and a ton of gratitude.
- Do not touch or move anything in the scene. Not a window blind, not a light switch, not a cup. Nothing. Not a single thing.
- Do not direct your subjects or suggest anything to influence their behaviour. This includes not asking them to “go play in that good light” or “stand by that clean/pretty wall”.
- Keep the exposure as close to how you exposed in camera. If the room is darker and the light is dramatic, do not lift the exposure drastically that it changes the feel of the space.
- Be complete and accurate in your representation of subjects and environment, and do not introduce your own biases into your photos. Treat your subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration and have empathy to those that are vulnerable. When culling, make sure the images represent the experience accurately.
- Crop only within your intended composition. Adjusting horizons is definitely permitted, but not to the extent of changing from landscape to portrait orientation, or to attain a zoomed-in crop.
- Do not remove, clone or add anything to the photo. Composites are not allowed.
- Try for a minimal edit that represents how you see it in reality. Filters and added layers for effects and textures are not allowed. Presets are fine as long as they retain colours that are true to life.
This is what I am aiming for this year. Definitely with my personal work. Hopefully with my professional work.
Thank you so much for the direction this year, Felicia.