Ethical Photography Module

Photography has become ubiquitous, but there are some ways that an innocent photograph can cause issues down the line. This module discusses the ethical considerations that surround photographing research and research subjects.

Cameras & Research: Tokyo Skateboarders

Dwayne Dixon, anthropologist and documentary filmmaker, discusses using video as a tool to conduct ethnographic research of skateboarders in Tokyo. He describes how the camera can be used as an analytic tool framing the subject of the research and other context more peripheral to the researcher’s — and camera’s — focus at the time that the image is captured. Dixon examines three issues he faced in using a camera as a research tool: (1) establishing relationships with his subjects that transcended his role as a videographer; (2) knowing when to film and when to refrain from filming, particularly in situations where what his subjects were doing was potentially embarrassing or was illegal; (3) considering the risks involved — to his subjects and also to himself — in filming their activities.