their ordeal, and so it’s a matter of not pressuring them and making sure
they are willing participants.
PDNedu: Do you feel obligated to get permission from your subjects
when shooting photojournalism?
MF: I try to whenever I can because, for me, photography is a very
collaborative endeavor and it’s important to me that my subjects want to
be a part of the process.
PDNedu: Do you sometimes find yourself at odds with authority
figures, such as police or guards, when documenting refugees?
MF: There have been instances on borders when military personnel have
stopped me—or officials have when photographing around detention
centers—but most situations have been resolved pretty quickly because I had
done my homework before about where I am allowed to go and not to go.
PDNedu: How can documentary photographers be more mindful
about ethics in their work?
MF: Today photographers are experimenting with photography in all kinds
PDNedu: What advice would you give to young photographers about
of ways, and I think that’s a good thing, but it’s also important to be honest
about your process. If you are setting up images, then be honest about
it—so the viewer that can see the work in that context—and, depending
on the project, don’t call it documentary photography. As a photographer
you will learn about ethics as you work in the field, because when you
are doing this kind of work there are always new ethical issues with each
project. As long as you are committed to being truthful in the way you tell
the story, you will be in good shape.
covering sensitive subjects?
MF: I would advise a
to approach your
subjects with an open
mind, and don’t try
to have an agenda.
Let whatever story
you are working on
unfold, and let the
subjects lead the way
in telling your stories.
— Interview by
For more on Malin
Fezehai’s work, visit
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