How has social media created and affected social stigma against photographing children in public?

Merseyside, 1975. Photographer Paul Trevor was patrolling the streets of Granby and Everton, photographing life and recording the mishaps of the children that resided there. A series of beautiful photographs shot on black and white film where produced and stored away for almost forty years. In 2010, a dusty box was found full of old negatives and prints. Beautiful photographs of Liverpool in the mid-seventies were uncovered, and thus began the campaign to find the children in the photographs.

I feel that this particular project is a fantastic example of how we have de-evolutionised as a society. It’s no secret that photographs age like a fine wine or whiskey, but the photographs themselves aren’t the problem. It’s taking the photographs without feeling like you have made someone a victim. Paedophile, sex offender, scumbag. These are just a few of the derogatory labels innocent photographers have had placed upon them since the social media boom. I aim to find out why, and what it was that caused this. Things have changed for photography and I feel that it is hurting the industry.

I have recently been in contact with Photographer Paul Trevor, we have emailed each other and Paul has kindly agreed to be interviewed for my dissertation research. I wish to find out what he feels has changed in terms of the social stigmas that threaten street photography. I will compile a series of well thought open questions, in order to gain what I need. I will also conduct an experiment to find out if the stigma against photographing children, specifically affects gender roles in the industry. I will also cover these aspects in a series of ‘Vox Pops’ to add to my primary research.

Using my primary research, I shall compile my evidence and arrange it into graphs and charts, where I can properly analyse the information and form a hypothesis, which will then either be proved or disproved, by using secondary research and secondary experiments.

The aim of my dissertation is to find what caused the social stigmas against photographing children. What made it such a sensitive subject? There is proof in Paul Trevor’s work, it proves how children are a beautiful and innocent subject matter to photograph. Capturing life where, as humans, we are at our most peaceful point in our lives. No problems, no stress, just serenity. I feel it is important to capture these moments and I feel that is important to abolish this humiliation that we have created as a society. We are photographers, it is our jobs to capture moments and create memories.