Street photography and did i mention ethics?

Street photography and did i mention ethics?


As I sat in a car park waiting and jamming out to music, I quickly looked up and noticed this girl standing there patiently on her phone, escaping reality. As I started to piece together her life I suddenly knew this would be a perfect opportunity for me to write this week blog task. Focusing on the issue of pubic spaces as an ethical dilemma, particularly the issue of taking a photograph of someone using or watching media in a public space. As I continued to watch her I began to question myself was it ethically right to take this photo, should I be doing this? Was it legal? . It all just felt uneasy, like I was invading someone personal space, entering into their world for just that brief moment. Though according to the Arts Law Center of Australia (2016,p1) I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I wasn’t capturing a photo of a child under 16, I wasn’t on private property, I needed no permission for her to take this photograph, what a scary thought that is. I was allowed to capture this moment as along as it was in a public space. It was illustrated through the Arts Law center (2016,p.1) that there is no personality / publicity rights here in Australia and there is no right to privacy that protects a persons image (Arts Law Centre, 2016,p.1). Meaning you and I don’t have the right to own the picture of our face in a public area if a picture is taken and used for other purposes.


(Source:Telegraph UK & Photographer : Stuart Beesley)

Australia has no specific law aimed at preventing the unauthorized use of your image, however there are circumstances in how your image is used. For instance if this image damages or injures your reputation or others you can claim for defamation. From here the photograph will be tested on whether the publication of the photograph is defamatory (Arts Law Center, 2016,pp.1-2). Another option is the Australian Consumer Law where Sate fair-trading prohibits the act of misleading and deceiving a person through commercial conduct. In order to claim, a person will need to show that the use of the image would mislead or deceive the public (Arts Law Center, 2016,p.2). Thirdly, there is no general right of privacy in Australia meaning if I wanted to take a photo, I don’t need to receive any personal consent first before capturing your image, nor does the individual have the right to stop her image being recorded (Arts Law Center, 2016,p.3). For example when capturing the image of the girl above, I followed the law. I didn’t risk her reputation, nor did I go and deceive her through commercial conduct. Everything was perfectly legal.

Though the questions remains just because it legal for me to capture an individual in a public space, shouldn’t we consider ethical values? As researchers and blog writers, Shouldn’t we follow a set of ethical guidelines and do what is morally right? For example the case study of drones, which are used to record and locate people. However, with street photography what are the ethical guidelines? Frist off it is best to treat the person you are photographing as a human as silly as that may sound, but to treat the individual as an equal. Question yourself and think would I like this if our roles where reversed? . Kim (2011) suggests talking to the person you are capturing, engage with them. Enter their lives for just that brief moment; make them feel comfortable by asking for consent before taking an image, particularly if the image is going to be displayed on a public website. A feeling Joerg Colberg (2013) feels strongly about quoting, “Photographers need to be aware of the ethics of their endeavor”(2013).

In my instances I approached this girl in the above picture in the end. Her name is Molly and she was waiting for her sister to pick her up after work. I kindly showed her the picture I took of her while she was using her phone. I explained that this was purely for educational purposes, in which would later be posted on my WordPress site. As anyone could image her reaction was priceless but sweetly she agreed to it. I quickly gave her my URL to my blog for her to read and follow up on, so molly if you’re reading this, I hope I’m doing you justice and THANKYOU for helping me. As Colberg highlights “having photographs in public spaces taken without permission poses a challenge for photography” (2013). It’s up to us as researchers to decided what is ethically right; create boundaries and a code of ethics for us to follow.

Though public photography makes for easier and effective research regarding public space ethnography , have a read of this research paper to understand . It gives us, the researcher, the chance to study and record how people live in their culture or their traditions. It gives us the opportunity to understand and share their beliefs along as we follow our codes of ethics, in order to prevent harm to that culture. In a way I think this safeguards are work, where we are able to know what is ethically right and follow it, making sure our work is sound and trust worthy.

 I would love to hear your thoughts , please feel free to leave a comment below .

All the best , Chelsea


Colberg, J 2013, A photo of a man I took downtown that he asked me to delete. I did. , Conscientious extended, weblog post, 3rd April, viewed 1st September 2016, <;.

Kim, E 2011, Are there any Ethics in street Photography? , Erickimphotography, weblog post, 26th February, viewed 1st September 2016, <;.

Arts Law Centre of Australia  2016, Street Photographer’s rights information sheet, Australian National Community legal centre of the arts, viewed 1st  September  2016, <;.



Lets talk Media talk …

Lets talk Media talk …

Does it matter who ‘owns’ the media?  Does it make a difference? The media is a huge vast system but who actually owns the media in Australia?

Before looking at this topic I knew I didn’t know the answer to the question above but after researching the topic its hard not to care and here why!

There are several Key corporate owners in Australia who have a massive influence over our media outlets. These being the names of 1.Bruce Gordon who controls the regional television network WIN TV, which according to SBS (Goncalves, 2013) informs us that the network reaches more “than 5 million people across Australia” 2.Rupert Murdoch (a name you must of heard before) who owns most capital city newspapers,  owning 23% of the newspaper in Australia According to SBS (The Conversation, 2013) 3. Gina Rinehart shareholder in Fairfax, channel 10 and the mining industries 4.Kerry stokes who has a key stake through channel 7 5. Lachlan Murdoch who is majority shareholder in Nova, channel 10 and Fair Fax. 6. James Packer a significant shareholder in channel 10, Consolidated Media and recently Foxtel According to SBS (Goncalves, 2013).

Knowing all we do about these key players in our media do you think it matters who owns them? Does it make a difference?

 This is a troubling discussion, as you need to understand what implications can happen when people like above do control and own our media. By studying media ownership we can understand how these key players can control our media, which more then often can, became biases in the information they send us. According to Doyle (2002, p.13) one of the main dangers to concentration of media ownership is that they can have a political influence on our viewpoints or our values by  dominant media owners. They can contest to our ideologies, which is usually causes ideological conflict (Turnbull, 2015).By using our ideologies they can control us in a certain way. They can create their own ideas about society serving the interest of those in power. In this way the media can become such a powerful tool. They can usually do this by using the idea of propaganda. “Which is a form of persuasion used to influence people’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours”(Manzaria & Bruck, 2014), this can been evident In the recent election for government, where propaganda was used. You may not have realised it but they did play some part in the way you chose to vote, by using TV commercials to sway the way you think about them and their competition. “Propaganda is so powerful because everyone is susceptible to it” (Manzaria & Bruck, 2014)


A good case study example when looking at ownership control is Rupert Murdoch . He has been known to use his newspaper and social media to promote and favor a political party, the liberals. Using the front page of The Daily telegraph to declare  that (Flew & Goldsmith, 2013) “Finally you have a chance to kick this Mob out”. SBS (Flew & Goldsmith 2013) goes on to mention that News Crop sells 17.3 million papers a week , that means he is reaching 17.3 million of us with his views and beliefs . You can even look at the phone hacking scandal of 2011 (Turnbull, 2015) with the buying of  the police and the PMs Thatcher. This is such a scary thought that the media can control people that we elect and trusted. This case study gives us a great example of just how powerful the media can be and still is to this day.

So does it matter who owns the media and does it make a difference? I would have to say plainly that yes it does, the media is one powerful tool and even if we don’t want to admit it they do control vast amount of things in our lives, even if it just changes one way we think about a certain issue in society. But what do you think? Does it matter who owns our media and does it make a difference to your life?

Here is a few videos you might be interested in watching 

As always, all the best



  1. Doyle, G 2002, Media Ownership: The Economics and Politics of Convergence and Concentration in the UK and European Media, SAGE Publications Ltd. (UK), London, GBR.
  2. Flew, T & Goldsmith, B 2013, Comment: Does Murdoch own 70 % of newspapers in Australia?, SBS, viewed 30th March 2015, <>
  3.  Flew, T & Goldsmith, B 2013, Rupert Murdoch – The Daily Telegraph, image, SBS, viewed 30th March 2015, < >
    1. Flew, T & Goldsmith, B 2013, Rupert Murdoch – twitter, image, SBS, viewed 30th March 2015,;
    1. Goncalves, R 2013, Factbox: Who owns what in the Australian media, SBS, viewed 30th March 2015,
    1. Manzaria, J & Bruck, J 2014, Media’s Use of propaganda to persuade people’s Attitude, beliefs and Behaviors, Ethics of development in global environment, viewed 30th March 2015,
    1. Turnbull, S 2015, ‘media myth busting: information just wants to be free’, lecture, BCM110, University of Wollongong, delivered 24th March 2015