The Knox Photographic Society (KPS) is now a large club with a diverse membership that represents a range of ages and cultures, is fairly evenly split between males and females and is active in many photographic undertakings. Ethical codes are adopted by organisations to assist members in understanding the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and in applying that understanding to their decisions. A code of ethics will set out the values and moral concepts that underpin how a collective group should behave.
For KPS, the Code of Ethics provides guidelines to inform club members of a certain code of conduct we should all keep in the forefront of our minds. We have an obligation, both as a collective and as individual photographers, to manage ourselves in many situations – for example, nature and wildlife photography, street photography and photojournalism, portraiture and use of models; and we are equally obliged to show respect for the environment, respect for public and private property, etc. We also have an obligation to ourselves in terms of how we behave when using and presenting photographic content, with respect to plagiarism and copyright, etc.
It is recognised that personal integrity and acceptable standards cannot be created or preserved by written rules alone, but depend on the understanding and judgment of individuals who should aim to behave at all times with integrity, sensitivity and awareness in undertaking their photographic pursuits. The KPS Code of Ethics is intended to raise awareness of relevant issues and promote responsible photographic practices.
Notwithstanding everything that follows, members are reminded that in all circumstances they must adhere to all laws and regulations applicable to the jurisdiction where they are photographing, and must comply with signs and notices from relevant authorities.
Where a breach of the KPS Code of Ethics has been observed and reported, the Constitution of the Knox Photographic Society Inc. sets out the disciplinary framework by which the Executive Committee can respond to the situation and take account of representations from all parties before deciding on an outcome aimed at protecting the best interests of KPS as a public organisation.
The KPS Executive Committee reserves the right to amend the Code of Ethics as and when necessary.
It is the responsibility of every KPS member to ensure that his or her actions reflect positively upon the Society and upon the photographic leisure and professional industry.
a. Members should not undertake any action that will bring the reputation of KPS into question or disrepute.
b. Members should act in the best interests of KPS.
c. Members have the responsibility to understand this code, as well as applicable laws and regulations affecting the photographic industry.
d. Members should strive to follow the spirit of the KPS Code of Ethics. Payment of the annual subscription will be confirmation of their agreement to abide by the code. The code applies to life memberships and all members within a family membership subscription.
e. The KPS Executive Committee reserves the right to refuse membership to new applicants, and to revoke membership of KPS to any person who breaches the code.
2. Knox Photographic Society Members – General
All members are entitled to be treated with dignity, respect and common courtesy in their contacts with others and they need to act with integrity towards others at all times. Furthermore, all members are expected to adhere to this code of conduct while behind the camera.
a. Members shall not discriminate on the grounds of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, creed, religion or political affiliation or for their own personal or financial benefit.
b. Members should ensure that their dealings with others exemplify and actively foster an environment of mutual trust and respect.
c. Members shall not engage in sexual harassment or any behaviour which may be reasonably interpreted as demeaning or as an unwanted sexual advance.
d. Members should actively support and where possible assist in the education of all interested persons on matters relating to photography.
e. Members shall respect other people’s property and possessions.
f. Prior consent from the relevant Committee Member must be sought when taking, using or borrowing any KPS equipment and where an equipment loan register is maintained and kept this must be filled out. Any damage or breakages that occur while the equipment is borrowed must be reported immediately to a Committee Member and the Secretary.
g. Members should treat others courteously and seek permission before joining others already photographing in an area.
h. Members shall treat all subjects and models with respect and dignity.
i. Where a member is engaged to photograph a model(s) or member(s) of the public while representing KPS, the member should complete a model release form when applicable.
j. Members shall not unfairly claim ownership or creative endeavour when using or incorporating another photographer’s or artist’s work, or misrepresent their own involvement in creating the work or misrepresent it as entirely their own creative and intellectual property.
k. Members must never deliberately exaggerate their qualifications, nor misrepresent the authorship of work presented in self-promotion.
l. Postings by members in social media such as the KPS website or KPS Facebook must not contain libellous or defamatory material.
m. Submitting an image for the photo review, monthly challenge or endorsed interclub competitions grants KPS the right (revocable by member’s request) to display the image on the Society’s website, to select the image as the front image of a gallery and to otherwise represent members’ photographic genius in a manner that encourages others to join KPS. Such submissions do not grant KPS the right to use members’ images for other purposes without permission.
n. Members are requested to turn off mobile phones or switch them to silent mode during KPS
o. All KPS Committee Members should avoid conflict of interest if possible. In cases where a conflict of interest arises, they will declare the conflict.
3. Wildlife Code of Ethics
The KPS Wildlife Code of Ethics is a guide for all members to follow in order to help protect and not cause harm to all nature and wildlife subjects and the environment, and also encourages actions that promote safety for the photographer and the subject.
Members should regard the safety and well-being of their subjects ABOVE the importance of capturing their images. Members should acquaint themselves with and respect the behaviours and ecosystems of the wildlife encountered.
a. Members must adhere to all laws and regulations applicable to the jurisdiction where they are photographing, and must comply with signs and notices from relevant authorities.
b. Members should view wildlife from a safe distance for both the photographer and the wildlife. If the animal interrupts its behaviour (resting, feeding, etc.), then the photographer is probably too close and should endeavour to distance themselves.
c. Members should learn patterns of animal behaviour and know when not to interfere with animals’ life cycles. First study the species to be photographed – particularly with regard to habitat and signs of stress. If there is a sign of stress, pull back.
d. Members should never force an action by startling the wildlife, throwing objects or otherwise trying to promote a response.
e. Members should never crowd, pursue, prevent escape, or make deliberate noises to distract, startle or harass wildlife. This is stressful and wastes valuable energy in needless flight.
f. Members should never feed or leave food (baiting) for wildlife. Habituation due to food handouts can result in disease or even death of that animal, and injury to humans.
g. Members should avoid coming between a parent and its offspring.
h. Members should never interfere with animals engaged in breeding, nesting, or caring for young.
i. Members should never encroach on or disturb nests, burrows or dens as certain species may abandon their young if this occurs.
j. Members should learn to recognise wildlife alarm signals and never forget that these animals are NOT tame no matter how docile or cuddly they may appear.
k. Members should acquaint themselves with the fragility of the ecosystem and wherever possible stay on trails that are intended to lessen impact. They should pack out any trash.
l. Members should not damage or remove any plant, life form or natural object.
4. Photojournalist Code of Ethics
The KPS Photojournalist Code of Ethics is a guide for all members to understand what is and what is not acceptable when attempting to show editorial, truthful or factual images.
a. Members should photograph as honestly as possible, and never intentionally distort the truth in editorial photographs.
b. Members should avoid staged or setup photo opportunities.
c. While photographing subjects, members should not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
d. Members should strive to be unobtrusive and humble in dealing with subjects, and should treat all subjects with respect and dignity.
e. Any manipulation of the image that is likely to mislead should be avoided.
KPS does not support or condone the exploitation of others as subjects of photography.
a. It is totally unacceptable for members to deliberately take or capture opportunistic, candid, unsolicited or non-consented photographs of a person(s) where such photos would be a violation of expected privacy on the part of the person(s) being photographed.
b. Any member found to be possessing or creating child pornography will be reported to the relevant authorities. Any member convicted of child pornography will be expelled.
c. Images of a pornographic nature are not permitted at KPS meetings.
6. Copyright and Software
KPS members shall adhere to Copyright and Trademark laws when producing images or when using photographic software or materials.
7. Disciplinary Procedure
Any disciplinary actions necessitated by a breach of the KPS Code of Ethics will be actioned according to the Constitution of the Knox Photographic Society Inc.
KPS Code of Ethics – 11 July 2015
A PDF of this Code of Ethics is available here.