Sometimes it’s trust, not technology, that allows us to make a photo.
I was recently allowed to set up a camera in a courtroom here in Yakima. I wanted to get a photo of a judge looking at his computer during a trial to illustrate a story we were doing about a new court information system that will greatly benefit judges by giving them more and faster access to information.
I wanted to get a photo from a different perspective, one in which the reader or viewer could see the computer screen as well as the rest of the courtroom to give the photo context.
To accomplish this I needed to set up a camera behind a judge looking over his shoulder. Cameras are routinely permitted in Washington state courtrooms with the judge’s permission but the photographers’ shooting position is generally assumed to be in the gallery, where cameras will cause the least disruption.
This is where trust comes into play. The judge, the court administrator and court workers had to trust me, trust that I would make the necessary photo as quickly and as unobtrusively as possible.
Trust can play a big part in our jobs as photojournalists. Our subjects have to trust us and trust that we are going to portray them accurately and fairly. Without that trust we will not be given the access needed to make the best photos possible. All of us here take that issue of trust seriously and would never knowingly abuse that trust.
Obviously the judge and the court administrator did trust me, allowing me to set up the camera for a short time during a trial to get my photo.