When I was away I got to thinking about do photographers have responsibilities to the world around them. Do we think about where we take photos and if there are repercussions to it?
Do photographers have responsibilities?
On the weekend I went out with a couple of friends to some places in the Mallee. When I asked if I should let people know where the photos were taken, I was told no. They didn’t want people to know about it. I also didn’t want to be responsible for letting people know where to go.
This raises an issue that I’ve heard people talking about and one I’ve experienced myself. It isn’t a new subject for me. If I’m honest it is also a subject I’m really passionate about.
In our search for the most amazing photographs do we think about the effect our presence will have on those people who live in those areas? Many people think that we are doing them a favour. We are bringing money into the area, but do they feel the same way? I’m starting to think they don’t.
On the weekend I was flat out told NO, they don’t want people going there.
It seems that in many instances they don’t really bring that much money, not enough to make up for what they do to the areas. The inconveniences they cause.
They rarely care about the areas that much and do what they want without any regard to what the long term effects will be. I’ve seen in some areas where they drive onto salt lakes, even though there are signs not to leave the tracks. They make it hard for others to take photos of a pristine area because they have destroyed it.
Photographers who climb over fences into sensitive nature reserves because they don’t think it will matter. They don’t care what they stand on or wreck by doing it. The only thing that matters is getting that shot that no one else has, or, in some cases, everyone has.
The way the locals see it
I’m told they are sick of people going where ever they want without any thoughts to it being private property or what they are destroying. The other consequence is the amount of rubbish that is left behind them. It seems the campaign that ran during the 70’s to Keep Australia Beautiful is no longer relevant. My mum was telling me how when she goes out walking you can see people have purchased drinks in the local shop, then a few hundred feet away, they have finished them and thrown out the rubbish to the road.
While these travellers bring in some income, how much does it cost the community to clean up after them? There is little to no respect.
Keeping places to ourselves
So I am going to become one of those photographers. I’m not going to let people know where places are. If I can protect them I will. People in the Mallee tell me about places because they know I will do what I can to respect and protect them.
That isn’t saying that I haven’t jumped fences, but when I do it, I tend to do it where no one can see and the area isn’t really important. Though, I try very hard not to do it. When I do it, I don’t let people know that is what I did.
So do you think photographers have responsibilities to protect the environment?
This gallery shows some photos of areas I’ve never told people where they were. The old car has now been destroyed, assumably by people visiting.