What is a photographer’s responsibility to the subject after the photography has finished? This has been stewing in my mind for sometime. I’m quite lazy about writing in my blog but I hope that I can get some feed back from others about this. Here are my thoughts.
I have done only a handful of stories, in each story there is a bond of trust between me and the person I’m photographing. We see each other everyday. They let me into their lives to document and then to show to other people. That is a lot of trust to give to someone with a camera and you don’t know.
It must be difficult for the subjects of photo stories after the photographer has finished the work. I wonder if they feel used or if they feel they are not important to the photographer anymore?
I mean really think about it. You make a new friend who cares about you and is interested in your life. This friend, with a camera, comes with you everywhere. They ask questions about everything your doing and why. This must make the subject feel pretty special.
Then, BAM!!!, after 2 weeks, this person with a camera says goodbye and you see them if your lucky one time a year.
I do try to go see the people that have allowed me into their lives. When I do, they always say I don’t visit enough. I usually smile guiltily and say that I have been busy working but I have not forgotten them.
As my life as a documentary photographer continues there will be more stories with more people. Then, there will be more people to visit to make sure they know I think they are important and that I appreciate them letting me into their lives. At some point it will become impossible to visit everyone. I hope they will understand.
I’m trying to rationalize it. No conclusions as of yet.