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Ethics,
Organisation,
and
Workflow
A Guide to Systems in Storytelling and
Documentary Photography
Alikwe Ortega
March 29th 2024
Aim
To explore the connections between ethics, organization,
and workflow in storytelling and documentary
photography. By examining ethical decision-making,
organizational dynamics, and workflow strategies, the
research seeks to provide insights and playful
recommendations that empower photographers to create
captivating, responsible, and awe-inspiring visual
narratives.
Storytelling and Documentary
Photography Milestones
Milestone 1: Inception
The art of storytelling and
documentary photography came
into existence in the early 20th
century, as photographers began
to document everyday life and
events.
Milestone 2: Evolution
As the years went by, the field of
documentary photography
evolved, with photographers
using their images to tell stories
in impactful ways, to influence
public opinion and bring about
change.
Milestone 3: Digital era
With the advent of digital
photography and the internet,
storytelling and documentary
photography have become more
accessible and democratized,
allowing for more diverse voices
to be heard.
Milestone 4: Ethics and
Responsibility
Today, there is a growing
awareness of the importance of
ethical and responsible
storytelling in documentary
photography, with photographers
and organizations working
together to address issues of
representation, consent, and
accuracy.
Ethics, Organization and
Workflow in Storytelling
and Documentary
Photography
75% photographers report
faced ethical dilemmas
A majority of photographers have been in situations that challenged their ethics
while reporting and documenting events.
40%
About 40% of photographers are freelancers and aren't bound by ethical
guidelines from a media organization.
78%
78% of photographers work with various multimedia formats to effectively tell a
story.
CONTEXT AND ACCURACY
Provide accurate and contextually relevant information about the photographs to avoid misleading interpretations or
misrepresentation of the subjects or events depicted.
RESPECT FOR DIGNITY
Present individuals or communities in a respectful and dignified manner, avoiding any representation that may
perpetuate stereotypes, exploit vulnerabilities, or cause harm.
CONSENT
Obtain proper consent from subjects before capturing and sharing their photographs, especially in sensitive or private
situations. Respect their autonomy and privacy rights.
AVOID MANIPULATION
Maintain the integrity and authenticity of the photograph by avoiding excessive alterations or manipulations that may
distort the truth or mislead viewers.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
BALANCING PUBLIC INTEREST AND PRIVACY
Consider the potential impact of publishing or sharing certain photographs on individuals' privacy, safety, or well-being.
Carefully weigh the public interest against the potential harm caused.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS (CONT.)
ATTRIBUTION AND COPYRIGHT
Respect copyright laws and give proper attribution to photographers or artists when sharing their work. Obtain
necessary permissions for using copyrighted material.
BALANCING PUBLIC INTEREST AND PRIVACY
Consider the potential impact of publishing or sharing certain photographs on individuals' privacy, safety, or well-being.
Carefully weigh the public interest against the potential harm caused.
EDITORIAL INTEGRITY
Maintain editorial integrity by presenting photographs in an unbiased and truthful manner, avoiding selective editing or
manipulation that may distort the intended narrative.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS (CONT.)
TRANSPARENCY AND DISCLOSURE
Transparency and Disclosure: Clearly disclose any conflicts of interest, affiliations, or biases that may influence the
presentation or interpretation of the photographs.
CULTURAL SENSITIVITY
Be aware of cultural sensitivities, traditions, and practices when sharing photographs from diverse communities. Avoid
appropriating or misrepresenting cultural symbols or rituals.
INFORMED CONSENT FOR VULNERABLE SUBJECTS
Exercise special care and obtain informed consent when photographing vulnerable individuals, such as children,
refugees, or marginalized communities.
STANDARDIZATIONS
National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Code of Ethics
These ethics offers nine ethical standards to member journalists. The basic premises of the
NPPA's nine standards are:
Accurately represent subjects
Do not be manipulated by staged photos
Avoid bias and stereotyping in work; provide complete information and context
Show consideration for subjects
Avoid influencing the actions of the photographic subject
Editing should not give the wrong impression of the subjects in the photograph
Do not compensate persons involved in photographs or in getting a photograph
Do not accept gifts or other favors from those involved in a photo
Do not purposely interfere with the work of other journalists
These guidelines provide a framework for not only members of the NPPA, but for other
photojournalists as well. In addition to the nine standards, a preamble and seven ideals are also
outlined in the code, which further explain the NPPA's expectations regarding ethical
photojournalistic reporting.
While photographers have the right to freedom of expression, there are some limitations imposed on them
in Nigeria.
Privacy Concerns: Photographers must be cautious when taking pictures of individuals in private spaces,
such as homes or offices, as it may infringe upon their right to privacy.
Public Safety and Security: Photographers should exercise discretion when capturing images in sensitive
areas or events that may compromise public safety or security.
Defamation: Photographers should avoid disseminating images that could potentially harm an individual’s
reputation or falsely portray them in a negative light.
Copyright and Intellectual Property: Photographers should respect copyright laws and seek permission
when using someone else’s work or photographing copyrighted material.
Obscenity and Decency: Photographers must adhere to societal standards of decency and avoid creating or
distributing obscene or indecent images.
Limitations on Photographers’
Rights in Nigeria
Limitations on
Public Photography in Nigeria
There are limitations to public photography in Nigeria to ensure the safety and dignity of
individuals.
Photographing sensitive locations like military bases and government buildings is strictly
prohibited.
Certain cultural or religious sites may have restrictions on photography, and it is
important to respect these rules.
Photography that invades someone’s privacy, such as capturing sensitive personal
moments, is not allowed.
If a person requests not to be photographed, it is necessary to respect their wishes and
refrain from taking their picture.
Photographers in Nigeria must be well-versed in the following laws:
1. Nigerian Constitution
The Nigerian Constitution guarantees the right to privacy as a fundamental human right.
Photographers must respect this right and ensure they do not violate individuals’ privacy in their work.
2. Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015
This act criminalizes cyber-stalking, which includes unauthorized monitoring or taking pictures of
individuals in private spaces.
Photographers should be aware of their responsibilities and obligations under this act.
3. Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR)
The NDPR was introduced to regulate the processing of personal data in Nigeria.
Photographers should handle and store personal data with utmost confidentiality and obtain consent
for its collection and use.
Essentially, privacy laws and regulations in Nigeria play a vital role in safeguarding individuals’ privacy
rights. Photographers should be aware of these laws, respect individuals’ consent, and obtain necessary
permissions before capturing images, especially in private spaces. By adhering to privacy laws,
photographers can uphold their professional ethics and avoid legal complications.
Regulations
Ethics, Organization and
Workflow in Storytelling
and Documentary
Photography
Source: www.fairpicture.org
Production
- Significance of the capture phase
- Ethical considerations during the capture phase
- Examples of ethical practices in capturing images for storytelling and documentary photography
Influence
- Ethical responsibilities of photographers when their work influences public opinion or policy
- The role of storytelling and documentary photography in shaping perceptions of reality
Publication
- Ethical considerations when sharing and presenting the photographs
- The impact of photographs on the audience and society
Editing
- Ethical considerations during the production and editing phases
- Importance of maintaining authenticity and avoiding manipulation
Reality
- Importance of reflecting on previous phases and learning from them
- Continuous improvement and ethical growth in storytelling and documentary photography
- Encouragement to revisit the cycle with enhanced ethical awareness and responsibility
Ethical
storytelling
practices
Always aim to represent people fairly and with
respect.
Avoid harmful stereotypes and be transparent
about your methods.
Remember the story you tell of your subjects
equally tells a story about you.
Further Reading
Prince Alex-Iwu, (2017) “Photo Privacy & Media/Image Rights in Nigeria” available at With the advent of digital photography and the internet, storytelling and
documentary photography have become more accessible and democratized, allowing for more diverse voices to be heard.. stillwaterslaw.com/1.1/2017/04/01/photo-
privacy-and-mediaimage-rights-in-nigeria/ accessed on 23rd March 2024.
MAC 323 PHOTOJOURNALISM COURSE WRITER Mrs Ademuyiwa Simbiat School of Arts and Social Sciences National Open University of Nigeria, Victoria Island,
Lagos available at https://nou.edu.ng/coursewarecontent/MAC323%20PHOTOJOURNALISM.pdf accessed on 23rd March 2024.
National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Code of Ethics available at https://nppa.org/code_of_ethics accessed on 23rd March 2024.
National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Code of Ethics available at https://nppa.org/code_of_ethics accessed on 23rd March 2024.
Respect
all parties involved in the image creation
Document
as a tool for social change
Organize
your workflow for impact and creativity
Explore
the role of the photographer in cultural narratives,
you will define and influence culture, politics and
history
WHAT’S NEXT
Keep on Creating Meaningful,
Authentic, and
Inspired
Stories.
THANK YOU
If you have questions and further enquiries, I can be reached via
: alikweortega@gmail.com
: https://calendly.com/alikweortega
: https://www.instagram.com/tegsimagery

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Storytelling, Ethics and Workflow in Documentary Photography

  • 1. Ethics, Organisation, and Workflow A Guide to Systems in Storytelling and Documentary Photography Alikwe Ortega March 29th 2024
  • 2. Aim To explore the connections between ethics, organization, and workflow in storytelling and documentary photography. By examining ethical decision-making, organizational dynamics, and workflow strategies, the research seeks to provide insights and playful recommendations that empower photographers to create captivating, responsible, and awe-inspiring visual narratives.
  • 3. Storytelling and Documentary Photography Milestones Milestone 1: Inception The art of storytelling and documentary photography came into existence in the early 20th century, as photographers began to document everyday life and events. Milestone 2: Evolution As the years went by, the field of documentary photography evolved, with photographers using their images to tell stories in impactful ways, to influence public opinion and bring about change. Milestone 3: Digital era With the advent of digital photography and the internet, storytelling and documentary photography have become more accessible and democratized, allowing for more diverse voices to be heard. Milestone 4: Ethics and Responsibility Today, there is a growing awareness of the importance of ethical and responsible storytelling in documentary photography, with photographers and organizations working together to address issues of representation, consent, and accuracy.
  • 4. Ethics, Organization and Workflow in Storytelling and Documentary Photography
  • 5. 75% photographers report faced ethical dilemmas A majority of photographers have been in situations that challenged their ethics while reporting and documenting events. 40% About 40% of photographers are freelancers and aren't bound by ethical guidelines from a media organization. 78% 78% of photographers work with various multimedia formats to effectively tell a story.
  • 6. CONTEXT AND ACCURACY Provide accurate and contextually relevant information about the photographs to avoid misleading interpretations or misrepresentation of the subjects or events depicted. RESPECT FOR DIGNITY Present individuals or communities in a respectful and dignified manner, avoiding any representation that may perpetuate stereotypes, exploit vulnerabilities, or cause harm. CONSENT Obtain proper consent from subjects before capturing and sharing their photographs, especially in sensitive or private situations. Respect their autonomy and privacy rights. AVOID MANIPULATION Maintain the integrity and authenticity of the photograph by avoiding excessive alterations or manipulations that may distort the truth or mislead viewers. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
  • 7. BALANCING PUBLIC INTEREST AND PRIVACY Consider the potential impact of publishing or sharing certain photographs on individuals' privacy, safety, or well-being. Carefully weigh the public interest against the potential harm caused. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS (CONT.) ATTRIBUTION AND COPYRIGHT Respect copyright laws and give proper attribution to photographers or artists when sharing their work. Obtain necessary permissions for using copyrighted material. BALANCING PUBLIC INTEREST AND PRIVACY Consider the potential impact of publishing or sharing certain photographs on individuals' privacy, safety, or well-being. Carefully weigh the public interest against the potential harm caused. EDITORIAL INTEGRITY Maintain editorial integrity by presenting photographs in an unbiased and truthful manner, avoiding selective editing or manipulation that may distort the intended narrative.
  • 8. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS (CONT.) TRANSPARENCY AND DISCLOSURE Transparency and Disclosure: Clearly disclose any conflicts of interest, affiliations, or biases that may influence the presentation or interpretation of the photographs. CULTURAL SENSITIVITY Be aware of cultural sensitivities, traditions, and practices when sharing photographs from diverse communities. Avoid appropriating or misrepresenting cultural symbols or rituals. INFORMED CONSENT FOR VULNERABLE SUBJECTS Exercise special care and obtain informed consent when photographing vulnerable individuals, such as children, refugees, or marginalized communities.
  • 9.
  • 10. STANDARDIZATIONS National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Code of Ethics These ethics offers nine ethical standards to member journalists. The basic premises of the NPPA's nine standards are: Accurately represent subjects Do not be manipulated by staged photos Avoid bias and stereotyping in work; provide complete information and context Show consideration for subjects Avoid influencing the actions of the photographic subject Editing should not give the wrong impression of the subjects in the photograph Do not compensate persons involved in photographs or in getting a photograph Do not accept gifts or other favors from those involved in a photo Do not purposely interfere with the work of other journalists These guidelines provide a framework for not only members of the NPPA, but for other photojournalists as well. In addition to the nine standards, a preamble and seven ideals are also outlined in the code, which further explain the NPPA's expectations regarding ethical photojournalistic reporting.
  • 11. While photographers have the right to freedom of expression, there are some limitations imposed on them in Nigeria. Privacy Concerns: Photographers must be cautious when taking pictures of individuals in private spaces, such as homes or offices, as it may infringe upon their right to privacy. Public Safety and Security: Photographers should exercise discretion when capturing images in sensitive areas or events that may compromise public safety or security. Defamation: Photographers should avoid disseminating images that could potentially harm an individual’s reputation or falsely portray them in a negative light. Copyright and Intellectual Property: Photographers should respect copyright laws and seek permission when using someone else’s work or photographing copyrighted material. Obscenity and Decency: Photographers must adhere to societal standards of decency and avoid creating or distributing obscene or indecent images. Limitations on Photographers’ Rights in Nigeria
  • 12. Limitations on Public Photography in Nigeria There are limitations to public photography in Nigeria to ensure the safety and dignity of individuals. Photographing sensitive locations like military bases and government buildings is strictly prohibited. Certain cultural or religious sites may have restrictions on photography, and it is important to respect these rules. Photography that invades someone’s privacy, such as capturing sensitive personal moments, is not allowed. If a person requests not to be photographed, it is necessary to respect their wishes and refrain from taking their picture.
  • 13. Photographers in Nigeria must be well-versed in the following laws: 1. Nigerian Constitution The Nigerian Constitution guarantees the right to privacy as a fundamental human right. Photographers must respect this right and ensure they do not violate individuals’ privacy in their work. 2. Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015 This act criminalizes cyber-stalking, which includes unauthorized monitoring or taking pictures of individuals in private spaces. Photographers should be aware of their responsibilities and obligations under this act. 3. Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) The NDPR was introduced to regulate the processing of personal data in Nigeria. Photographers should handle and store personal data with utmost confidentiality and obtain consent for its collection and use. Essentially, privacy laws and regulations in Nigeria play a vital role in safeguarding individuals’ privacy rights. Photographers should be aware of these laws, respect individuals’ consent, and obtain necessary permissions before capturing images, especially in private spaces. By adhering to privacy laws, photographers can uphold their professional ethics and avoid legal complications. Regulations
  • 14. Ethics, Organization and Workflow in Storytelling and Documentary Photography
  • 16. Production - Significance of the capture phase - Ethical considerations during the capture phase - Examples of ethical practices in capturing images for storytelling and documentary photography Influence - Ethical responsibilities of photographers when their work influences public opinion or policy - The role of storytelling and documentary photography in shaping perceptions of reality Publication - Ethical considerations when sharing and presenting the photographs - The impact of photographs on the audience and society Editing - Ethical considerations during the production and editing phases - Importance of maintaining authenticity and avoiding manipulation Reality - Importance of reflecting on previous phases and learning from them - Continuous improvement and ethical growth in storytelling and documentary photography - Encouragement to revisit the cycle with enhanced ethical awareness and responsibility
  • 17. Ethical storytelling practices Always aim to represent people fairly and with respect. Avoid harmful stereotypes and be transparent about your methods. Remember the story you tell of your subjects equally tells a story about you.
  • 18. Further Reading Prince Alex-Iwu, (2017) “Photo Privacy & Media/Image Rights in Nigeria” available at With the advent of digital photography and the internet, storytelling and documentary photography have become more accessible and democratized, allowing for more diverse voices to be heard.. stillwaterslaw.com/1.1/2017/04/01/photo- privacy-and-mediaimage-rights-in-nigeria/ accessed on 23rd March 2024. MAC 323 PHOTOJOURNALISM COURSE WRITER Mrs Ademuyiwa Simbiat School of Arts and Social Sciences National Open University of Nigeria, Victoria Island, Lagos available at https://nou.edu.ng/coursewarecontent/MAC323%20PHOTOJOURNALISM.pdf accessed on 23rd March 2024. National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Code of Ethics available at https://nppa.org/code_of_ethics accessed on 23rd March 2024. National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Code of Ethics available at https://nppa.org/code_of_ethics accessed on 23rd March 2024.
  • 19. Respect all parties involved in the image creation Document as a tool for social change Organize your workflow for impact and creativity Explore the role of the photographer in cultural narratives, you will define and influence culture, politics and history WHAT’S NEXT
  • 20. Keep on Creating Meaningful, Authentic, and Inspired Stories. THANK YOU If you have questions and further enquiries, I can be reached via : alikweortega@gmail.com : https://calendly.com/alikweortega : https://www.instagram.com/tegsimagery