"Le rapport de face à face” in digital documentary

Winston, Brian (2018) "Le rapport de face à face” in digital documentary. Post Script, 36 (2&3). pp. 12-30. ISSN 0277-9897

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“Do no harm” remains the foundation for the ethics—a system of morality applied to behavior—of the documentary filmmaker into the digital era. But digital affordances do impact, although far from transformatively, on the ethical position of all three parties involved in the act of documenting—the filmer, the filmed and the spectator.
To assess the extent of this a Levenasian framework is deployed to suggest that the central site of ethical behavior relates to the face-to-face interaction (le raport de face à face) of the filmmaker and those being filmed (les autres). The spectator constitutes a more distant third party (la troisième personage). For this figure, the ethics of watching digital images remain unchanged except that the increased possibility of digital image manipulation requires an increase of awareness. For the filmer—the filmmaker—too, the duty of care is also unchanged—grounded in the principle that no harm should be offered to either ‘l’autre or la troisième personage.
This constraint on free expression persists especially because of the increased temptations afforded by the ease of digital image manipulation. These need generally to be resisted in the name of image integrity best expressed through a self-impose ethics of tact. For those filmed, the digital can be far more transformative. Its accessibility affords the filmed the possibility of an escape from their—all too often, social victim—position. They can now meld with the filmer and take in all the duty of care that requires.

Keywords:Film making, Documentary, Ethics
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:31573
Deposited On:06 Apr 2018 15:37

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