The nature of photography demands that the photographer be in the room, live with the subject. He has to be physically at the place he is photographing (at least with traditional film based documentary photography). How can the photographer be at the location and making an image documenting some kind of injustice (exploitation) without himself exploiting his subject to some degree? Isn't the act of making the photograph also an act of exploitation? Does the end justify the means? If your making a photograph to inform, to educate, to raise awareness, if your making a photograph for the greater good does the end then justify the means?
|Tomoko Uemura in her bath by W. Eugene Smrth|
In this great image by W. Eugene Smith he was documenting a birth deffect caused by mercury poisoning, he was educating the veiwer about this trajedy. Was he also exploiting the young girl and her mother? Or does the fact the image speaks to the horror of the birth defects through negligence and the obvious power of a mothers love allow the artist the right to exploit.
Does the creation of a great work of art allow the artist the right to be exploitive? I don't know.