Taking Beautiful Pictures of an Ugly World: The Ethics and Motivation of Photographing Dark Tourism Sites

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

Abstract

This paper explores some of the motivations and ethics of taking travel pictures of sites which have witnessed death, destruction and atrocity. It raises questions of how the temporal distance from the event, how the photograph is framed and who is taking the photograph can influence the “moral legitimacy” of taking such photographs. The key conclusions of the paper are that taking pictures of such places is not necessarily wrong, as they can help capture powerful emotional and heuristic experiences, which can form the benchmarks of the travel experience. Yet questions should be raised when the image being photographed fails to provoke a reaction or a sense of empathy, or nurture any notion of what can be learnt. Approaching such photography without such a moral or educational context means that the process is becoming voyeuristic in nature, and a development which is not necessarily one to be welcomed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication“Still Visions-Changing Lives,” Sheffield Hallam University
Publication statusPublished - 2003
EventTourism & Photography: Still Visions - Changing Lives - Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Jul 200323 Jul 2003

Conference

ConferenceTourism & Photography: Still Visions - Changing Lives
CountryUnited Kingdom
CitySheffield
Period20/07/0323/07/03

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  • Cite this

    Piekarz, M. (2003). Taking Beautiful Pictures of an Ugly World: The Ethics and Motivation of Photographing Dark Tourism Sites. In “Still Visions-Changing Lives,” Sheffield Hallam University