Anytime someone tells you NOT to shoot something cause they don’t like it and it is legal to shoot…that smacks of pretention on their part.

Article Dedication

in Honor of

Henri Cartier-Bresson & Susan Meiselas


From the Rangefinder Forum…


Jake writes:

Currently looking at morality in regards to identity within photography for my final project at college and have come across this article regarding a photojournalists coverage of a stoning and whether he should have taken the image from a moral standpoint. If you could give the article a read and write down your opinions for me to use in my research that would be great:…to-sean-ohagan



My Reply:


Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Morals, values and laws vary all over the world. In Muslim countries an adult male can marry a child – in the US they would go to jail. In Amsterdam you can have sex with teens – in the US you will go to jail. In America the women can dress pretty much as they like – if they do it in some locals it can get them disfigured and maybe killed.

When push comes to shove, generally speaking the only thing that counts is the law. Whether the consensus is ‘like or dislike’ it does not matter to me and it should not matter to the dedicated artist either. And even if it is not legal to shoot, many times we have to try anyway, if freezing time is our job.

Anytime someone tells you NOT to shoot something cause they don’t like it and it is legal to shoot…that smacks of pretention on their part.

To base my photo on what others like would mean I do my photography for others and not myself. Since I pay my own way, I shoot for myself and not for others. The job of the photog is to document and freeze time. Therefore do your job and leave pet personal prejudices at home if you want to be the best photojournalist you can be.


Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Here is the Hierarchy of Documentary Photography which I developed.

1. Candid events unfolding as they happen.

2. If it cannot be perfected or obtained as a candid, then the photo must be posed.

3. If it cannot be perfected or obtained as a posed photo, then it must be staged with the proviso it is a recreation of past events, preferably with the actual persons reenacting the events.

4. Figments of the imagination. Varies in documentary value.  Can be based on pure speculation or a recount of events.


Someone mentioned ‘ethics’ in the mix over at Rangefinder Forum. Like it is OK if you have good ethical reasons to shoot certain offensive subjects and it is not OK to shoot if you don’t have good ethics. Ethics, exploitation or any other excuse you can come up with does not matter in the least when it comes to documentary photography.

The photograph does not require a pure heart for the button to be pushed. All it requires is for the button to be pushed to freeze time and be a witness to history.

These were taken by NAZI’s. How important are they as a witness to history? The camera did not require an investigation into ethics or motives of the photographer for them to be priceless.

Einsatzgruppen Killing last jew in Vinnytsia

The last Jew in Vinnitsa

Nazis killing Jews Ivangorod 1942

German execution squad

Many times the artist, using their art, tries to make sense of the world with their medium. That is another area that should not be begrudged to the artist.  Again it is all based on the law, not on other people’s pet personal prejudices.


In summation…If it is legal, shoot what you like. Forget the critics that will try to tear you down…march to your OWN beat or you will have to shoot what the CRITICS browbeat you to shoot.



Daniel D. Teoli Jr.Archival Collection

Selection from Iconoclastic Reporter artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


De Wallen Graffiti 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.