As photographers and journalists I ask you:  What are our responsibilities for bringing to the attention of authorities issues of environmental, civil, or criminal wrongdoing?  Have you given this much thought?  It's a topic which is constantly on my mind and for which I have no concrete answer.  I wish I did.

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS  @F4  1/2000th  ISO 100

 

As photographers and journalists I ask you:  What are our responsibilities for bringing to the attention of authorities issues of environmental, civil, or criminal wrongdoing?  Have you given this much thought?  It's a topic which is constantly on my mind and for which I have no concrete answer.  I wish I did.

Photographers are by nature a curious bunch and we're out there with our cameras as trained observers and increasing our observation skills with every days work.  We see things, perhaps a pickpocketing.  Do we just take the pictures of the thief with his fingers in his victims pockets.. or do instead try to prevent the theft?  If not able to prevent do we then report?  Obviously any sort of overt intervention opens the individual photographer/journalist up to all types of danger.

In this modern day police officials are well aware that every citizen is potentially armed with a phone camera, either still or video, and I think this is a good thing.  But the bad guys, the dangerous guys, they're aware of this as well.  More often than ever before I've noticed an unwillingness if not downright hostility to taking pictures in Thailand where before we'd be welcomed with open arms and huge smiles.  Now we're shooed away and told pictures aren't allowed.  This really is a complex topic and indeed more than we can cover in a few opening paragraphs.  Take this subject to mind and give it considerable thought.  Share your thoughts if you've a mind to.

This feature photograph is of a juvenile seabird at a popular Thailand attraction.  He's obviously extremely deformed, a deformity of the type associated with toxic chemical dumps.  Look at his bulging forehead, thick neck, and inset eyes.  This isn't an isolated case.  As a frequent visitor to this attraction I see many of the babies before they're culled and through a high powered telephoto lens can see defects and deformities on adults that were allowed to pass.  One or two wouldn't raise suspicion, but dozens or hundreds in the same small location certainly does.

 

This image is significant because it documents what may be a very real environmental issue and it makes us pause and consider our responsibilities as photographers and journalists.  Of course we want to do everything we can to ensure everything possible is being done.  But will it help if we lose access?  Put ourselves at personal risk?  Something of this nature can upset our lives in huge ways.  I'm interested in your opinions and input.

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS  @F4  1/640th  ISO 100

 

This image shows what the seabird is supposed to look like.  It was taken a few weeks earlier and shows a normal bird next to the defective bird.  This is the tip of the iceberg.. I fear there is much more to learn.

This image is significant because it documents what may be a very real environmental issue and it makes us pause and consider our responsibilities as photographers and journalists.  Of course we want to do everything we can to ensure everything possible is being done.  But will it help if we lose access?  Put ourselves at personal risk?  Something of this nature can upset our lives in huge ways.  I'm interested in your opinions and input.