With the growth of digital technology, and with cameras now ubiquitous on mobile phones, photography is no longer the preserve of professionals and a few amateur enthusiasts.
But the explosion of photography comes at a time when there are also growing concerns about its ethical implications.
Photographers face increasing codes and restrictions on taking pictures in public space. From privacy infringement laws to security concerns and taboos around photographing children, photographers have to navigate a minefield of formal and informal regulations. Yet despite such concerns, we are photographed more than ever before.
With photo sharing sites like Flickr, Facebook and Myspace, the personal photo album – which people once would typically show only to a small circle of family and friends – has become an item for public display.
How do the new regulations and taboos affect the role of photographers in documenting public life? How can we strike a balance between safeguarding the artistic and journalistic freedom of photographers, and the privacy of the public? Can individuals in fact create more authentic representations of everyday life by documenting and displaying it themselves?
Is the photojournalist redundant now that we can all take pictures with our mobile phones and send them in to eager broadcasters and newspapers? Or should we try to preserve and uphold the superior standards – and ethics – of professional photographers?- Institute of Ideas
David Cowlard is a London based freelance photographer. His work is centered on a form of architectural reportage and urban landscape that places emphasis on context, habitation and use of the built environment. Cowlard has been widely commissioned by magazines from the UK and internationally and his work has also featured in a number of books.
Cowlard writes and teaches on urban and photographic issues and is currently working on a Masters Research project at Kingston University on alternative approaches to architectural photography.
Pauline Hadaway has worked in arts management since 1990 and is currently Director of Belfast Exposed Photography. Founded in 1983, Belfast Exposed Photography is a gallery of contemporary photography, archive and community photography resource, with a focus on commissioning and publication of new work.
Hadaway is a also freelance writer, with plays performed in Newcastle upon Tyne, Belfast and London, and articles published in Circa, Spiked, The Visual Arts Newsletter, Architects Journal, Fourthwrite and Printed Project.
David Hurn has a longstanding international reputation as one of Britain's leading reportage photographers.
He is particularly well known for spotlighting the ambiguities and eccentricities of the human experience.
Bob Kirwin started life as a freelance photographer recording the London glitterazzi in the 1970s. He moved into picture editing and was deputy to Horst Faas, the double Pulitzer prize winning Associated Press photographer.
Kirwin was poached by The Daily Mail to become Night Picture Editor and then Associate Picture Editor. In 1985, he was asked to set up epa, Europe's first European news photo agency based in Frankfurt. In 1989, Kirwin joined The Times as Deputy Picture Editor. He became Picture Editor in 2000 and moved into senior management four years later.