Meaning of ‘Ethics are optics

The passage below is from Fathoms: The World in the Whale Hardcover by Rebecca Giggs.

I arranged to speak with Tim Watters. Watters’s work as a photojournalist and videographer artist has fronted a wide range of prominent activist campaigns worldwide. Off the Kimberley coast in Western Australia, he shot footage that helped to propel the successful campaign against a proposed onshore gas hub on the James Price Point headland, adjacent to where humpbacks migrate. Watters is in the business of making animal injury visible, an undertaking that walks the high-wire between shock and sympathy. In 2014, his photographs of bloodied minke whales, hauled onto Japan’s MV Nisshin Maru in the Southern Ocean, made global news (and, he suspects, led the whalers to paint the ship’s slipway a darker colour in following seasons, so as to obscure the volume of whale blood on display). Over the past decade, Watters has developed a detailed understanding of the kinds of animals people respond to, and how their range of emotional responses can differ between species; why this might be so underlies his work. Ethics are optics in Watters’s trade.

This passage is about a photojournalist Tim Watters.

In the last sentence ‘Ethics are optics’ puts me in the dark.

By optice what does the author try to mean?

(It should be connected to his trade, photograph and video, but that’s it. I couldn’t go further. Please help me.)

Thanks in advance.

Stenka25 Ethics are optics in Watters’s trade.

It is a play on words. Optics has two definitions.

Optics are the lenses in the photographer's toolkit (entry #1), but they also (entry #2) are capturing the appeal of these animals to people. In that way, the photographer is intimately involved in the opinions (optics) regarding his subjects and ethics (rules of proper conduct), eg. the ethical treatment of the animals. "Trade" is the business of the photographer.



It's like "potatoes are corkscrews" or "ideas are fishing weights". Just kidding. I am tempted to write and ask her. It seems to me that she gives free rein to her pen hand, trusting in her genius to provide the sense, like automatic writing. In fact, I would not be at all surprised to discover that she thinks she is practicing psychography. I have no theory about what she meant by "ethics are optics".

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Your humorous reply gives me a big smile:D

I see what you mean "ideas are fishing weights".

And thanks a lot as always, anonymous.

 AlpheccaStars's reply was promoted to an answer.

Thanks a lot as always, AlpheccaStars. You mean photographers practices their ethics through optics. So ethics are optics. I get the clear picture of the phrase.

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