Without people consenting to be in our images we wouldn’t have an image library. Well we might have an image library but it would be full of conceptual images and the back of people’s heads. But gaining consent is made even harder when working with people who have limited or no capacity to understand what consent is. We don’t want to exploit people but at the same time we don’t want to exclude them due to their inability to consent.
We have a variety of forms which we use depending on the ability of the individual to understand and consent for their images to be used. These forms have been created with the help of various Health and Social Care Professionals with specific input from Speech and Language Therapists.
Many people in our images have the capacity to consent for themselves and to help them understand we use plain language and images to explain what the photos are going to be used for. Where appropriate we try to involve advocates and/or carers to ensure that people are fully understanding of what they are consenting to, however we are careful not to disempower the individual.
If the person does not have the capacity to consent or this is in doubt then we involve parents/carers (legal guardians) and/or Health & Social Care Professionals who know that person well and can help decide whether being involved in the photography is in the individual’s best interests.
Importantly, because circumstances change, we will always allow people in the images (or their legal guardian) to request that their images be removed from the image library.
It’s always great fun photographing children as more often than not they really want to play to the camera. The hardest thing is usually getting them to forget you are there so you can get those natural, unposed shots. But when a child is fascinated by the camera you might as well make the most of it and get them in full pose looking straight down the lens.
In this shot I exaggerated my height with a wide angle to get a different perspective on the child as she scooted around. I also needed a fast shutter as like most children she wasn’t hanging around for long. After a bit of tidying up in Photoshop (see below) I had the image I wanted.
Image shot with Canon 1DS MkII: 1/320, f.5.6, ISO 400, 24-70mm @ 24mm.
This was taken as part of a series on drug use for our substance misuse category. We worked with recovered drug users who were able to advise us and accurately recreate situations which realistically showed drugs being taken.
We used a cellar with the light coming from a single side window which produced enough natural light to highlight the needle and allow a fast shutter speed to get the blackness of the surroundings.
Image shot with Canon 1DS MkII: 1/320, f.2.8, ISO 400, 24-70mm @ 64mm.
If you want an image to promote services for elderly people then the image you use is of someone who is elderly. If you want an image to promote learning disability services then the person in the image has learning disabilities. But if you are promoting mental health services does the image have to be of someone who has now or in the past had a mental health issue.
Any of us can have mental issues without it necessarily being visible to others. But is it disingenuous to keyword an image as ‘mental health’ if the person within the image has not experienced mental health issues?
Does this person have a mental health issue? Does it matter?
This blog will be written by the photographers at Crocstock Images, a health and social care image library, which finally went live last October after several years of planning. We set up a specialist image library because of our backgrounds in learning disability work and our long list of public sector clients who often wanted to purchase images for specific marketing purposes.
In our blogs we’ll be sharing our favourite images, discussing shoots and exploring photographic techniques and equipment. We’ll also have one eye on current health and social care issues and explain how our images can be used to promote these relevant topics.