“ If your not talking about how you got your shot , maybe it wasn’t the best way to go about getting it. “ BBC Wildlife magazine
Ethical wildlife photography is a subject close to my heart and a topic I have already touched on in the past. But what does it mean , what is best practice out in the field . How far would you go to get the perfect shot ?
At first glance this seems to be a simple matter , but I know from personal experience , perspectives change. Mine certainly has and I think this is part of developing as a wildlife photographer , as you lean new skills , some call it field craft . Surly in certain circumstances baiting an area if ok , depending on what the bait is. Live animals , is definitely a no go in my opinion.
I think most wildlife photographers want an authentic image , after all if we’re honest that’s why we pick a camera up in the first place. I have always maintained that for me , the welfare of the subject must come first. Yes I will use a hide , as in my recent blogs HIDE AND SEEK. And yes I have baited the tree stump , but only with natural seed and berries found within the woods. I also would never approach a wild animal , better to conceal yourself and wait for the animal to approach you , as in the Fox photographed for my one project.
So where do you draw the line , the BBC feature , LOOKING BEYOND THE LENS in the BBC Wildlife magazine , October 2020 has a list , the wildlife photography code of conduct. And I agree with all their points , most of which are common sense. Another point raised is that of canned animal photography. Which is another contentious subject. To be honest I personally don’t have an issue , a point of view that I have expressed before on this blog. Provided the captive animals welfare is not compromised, it’s in an appropriate enclosure and the captivity’s not just for entertainment.
The article then continues to explain the BBC’s policy for accepting images from readers , explaining that it has clear ethical rules , just one point . Their policy isn’t printed within the readers photo pages, but in the editorial credit column, in print so small that I had to get a magnifying glass out to read it.
So what does ethical wildlife photography mean to you ?