Consent May 29, 2015 08:48

I have just returned from another wonderful, yet cold and damp, festival. Freezer Burn is Alberta's regional Burning Man event held every year for the past nine. 

As part of the Burning Man community practices, consent is one of the most important. The community preaches and educates all participants and to the rest of the world listening, that consent must be given for any kind on interaction, this includes having a photo taken. The concept is not one of the core principle ( see the 10 principles here - http://burningman.org/culture/philosophical-center/10-principles/ ), but it is so heavily discussed and mandated, it would probably be the eleventh principle. 

So why in a community that so heavily engages in self expression, art, music, and enjoyment of the world is consent so important? It is because they want to be inclusive of all in a positive way. Asking someone invites them to be engaged, not asking forces their involvement. Which would you rather have? 

When it comes to photographs and video, this is even more important. The issues is that much of the world can be extremely critical of others and situations they do not understand. Not everyone wants to be the centre of attention for the world to see. 

In a world and culture were we are increasingly the subject of some security camera footage and evermore a number to be tracked by the digital world we so eagerly consume - knowing our future and current whereabouts before we do -, I think we as people and not just photographers need to consider the concept of consent for more deeply.