Recently I’ve come across a personal dilemma in my work. While I am not questioning my ethics regarding photography, I am beginning to question my unbiased nature while shooting large actions. I am questioning this because as these photos come to the public eye, groups who are present that I do not agree with on a moral and ethical level often share them within their own circle. This causes me anguish because I am strong in my beliefs that everyone should be represented, but at the same time I do not want to be the one to assist them in that representation.
In all fairness, the side I don’t agree with usually ends up with more photos of gaping mouths, blinking eyes and wrinkled shirts, but professionally I don’t feel it is proper to photograph just one side.
There is never a single answer. I’m torn between professional and activist.
So to put this into a little more perspective, the issue at hand is the Capital Care Network of Toledo. During an event in July, I photographed both groups, pro-choice & pro-life. Both sides thanked me for doing so. While I had no qualms with the pro-choice side sharing them around social media, I became uneasy when I noticed the pro-lifers doing the same.
The issue at hand is not one of white supremacy, where it is very cut and dry for me. No supremacist should be honored to be in one of my photographs, personal or professional, ever, period. But these people are members of a religion that does not allow women to have a choice no matter the situation. While I am not one to down based on religious beliefs, I do take offense at limiting the rights of women, harassment outside of the clinic, and the lies these people spread to vulnerable women who are already dealing with one of the toughest decisions they’ll make.
Currently I am divided between taking photos down to prevent sharing on a side I do not morally agree with, keeping the photos up so that people can witness the fight for reproductive rights isn’t over, or maintaining a professional unbiased stance that shows the bigger picture of an event.
This leads me to the question of why I hold pro-lifers in a different category than supremacists. Is it a religious thing? Have I been programmed to think that they are “not that bad” just because they’re old white people? Every time I ask myself this question, I remind myself that white supremacists and pro-life activists have similar rap sheets that both include murder and arson.