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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Photographers who didn't step in.
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07/28/2012 06:21:34 AM · #1
Facinating, and sometimes heartbreaking, piece on the ethics of photojournalism. That old question of when to shoot and when to help.

Photographers who didn't step in
07/28/2012 07:39:13 AM · #2
I always go back to the Bang Bang Club when I read articles like this.
Kevin Carter has one of the most profound photos I've ever seen, and the question was always how could he leave the child behind.
07/28/2012 07:42:51 AM · #3
Yes, Carter came straight to my mind when i read it as well.
07/28/2012 07:48:55 AM · #4
Originally posted by Venser:


Kevin Carter has one of the most profound photos I've ever seen, and the question was always how could he leave the child behind.


Although there are many different interpretations of that photograph and eyewitness accounts. Some say that the girl was only a few meters away from parents who were unloading food from the feed centre. The isolating effect of the crop gives a certain impression that the girl is crawling on her own and dying but who knows. Also, others have said that the use of a telephoto lens and it's reduction of perceived distance gives the impression that the vulture is much closer to the child than it really is. Again, that's photography for you.

Message edited by author 2012-07-28 07:53:40.
07/28/2012 08:09:00 AM · #5
compelling read, thank you
07/28/2012 12:03:47 PM · #6
The comments were pretty disappointing.

If there is immediate danger (a mob already riled to violence), most people would have a hard time stepping in, camera or not.
If there is not immediate danger (a starving child), taking one very fast photograph can do a whole lot more than save that one child. Plus there's nothing stopping you from helping after spending the 10 seconds to get a shot.

It reminded me of the photographer on a stormy beach who got a series of photos of a woman being pulled into the sea by a wave. I believe I saw them from a thread on DPC. A google search came up empty.
07/28/2012 12:45:49 PM · #7
Originally posted by Venser:

I always go back to the Bang Bang Club when I read articles like this.
Kevin Carter has one of the most profound photos I've ever seen, and the question was always how could he leave the child behind.


Well, he did commit suicide afterwards, so...

07/28/2012 01:06:24 PM · #8
Originally posted by jadin:

It reminded me of the photographer on a stormy beach who got a series of photos of a woman being pulled into the sea by a wave. I believe I saw them from a thread on DPC. A google search came up empty.

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Julietnn destroyed her 50D in the act of saving a girl who was drowning. Didn't even get a thank you from the girl's parents. I'm sure she would do it again in a heartbeat.
07/28/2012 01:14:52 PM · #9
Originally posted by jadin:

The comments were pretty disappointing.


I only skimmed over them but, yea, from what i read they were disappointing. I think for many people photographers have a bad name as they're just equated to paparazzi. Some people don't see the huge value in photojournalism anymore.

Message edited by author 2012-07-28 13:15:22.
07/28/2012 01:47:04 PM · #10
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Originally posted by jadin:

It reminded me of the photographer on a stormy beach who got a series of photos of a woman being pulled into the sea by a wave. I believe I saw them from a thread on DPC. A google search came up empty.

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Julietnn destroyed her 50D in the act of saving a girl who was drowning. Didn't even get a thank you from the girl's parents. I'm sure she would do it again in a heartbeat.


I did lose the camera and lens, I would do it again. What choice is there?

I have football shouldered and flattened a man that was mugging a women too in England.

BUT I can tell you know,,,,, I would NOT get in the middle of a mob, or people with machetes as in some of those photo.

But I think what people overlook as well, is that if there was NOT a photographer there to shoot this, people would not know. A picture paints a thousand words.
07/28/2012 02:41:42 PM · #11
It is a very rare feat when a person would dare to risk their own life for another. How much more rare for someone to lay down their life and die for one they don't even know.
07/28/2012 04:17:12 PM · #12
Originally posted by EL-ROI:

It is a very rare feat when a person would dare to risk their own life for another. How much more rare for someone to lay down their life and die for one they don't even know.


Not as rare as you might think. Though sometimes they get referred to as pigs, baby killers, hippies and firemen. (Law enforcement, military, peace corps and fire fighters.) Only we expect them to do so....
07/28/2012 07:15:56 PM · #13
Originally posted by ambaker:

Originally posted by EL-ROI:

It is a very rare feat when a person would dare to risk their own life for another. How much more rare for someone to lay down their life and die for one they don't even know.


Not as rare as you might think. Though sometimes they get referred to as pigs, baby killers, hippies and firemen. (Law enforcement, military, peace corps and fire fighters.) Only we expect them to do so....


Beat me to it... and you might add the vets that came back from Vietnam and the wonderful reception they got upon their return.

Ray
07/28/2012 08:16:08 PM · #14
Originally posted by RayEthier:

Originally posted by ambaker:

Originally posted by EL-ROI:

It is a very rare feat when a person would dare to risk their own life for another. How much more rare for someone to lay down their life and die for one they don't even know.


Not as rare as you might think. Though sometimes they get referred to as pigs, baby killers, hippies and firemen. (Law enforcement, military, peace corps and fire fighters.) Only we expect them to do so....


Beat me to it... and you might add the vets that came back from Vietnam and the wonderful reception they got upon their return.

Ray


Been there, got that... Was spat upon in the airport, on my way home, by war protesters. Just shook my head, and smiled. Struck me that the citizens of our opponents probably could not have so freely done the same thing.
07/28/2012 09:01:02 PM · #15
Originally posted by ambaker:

Originally posted by EL-ROI:

It is a very rare feat when a person would dare to risk their own life for another. How much more rare for someone to lay down their life and die for one they don't even know.


Not as rare as you might think. Though sometimes they get referred to as pigs, baby killers, hippies and firemen. (Law enforcement, military, peace corps and fire fighters.) Only we expect them to do so....


+1 (like button if there was one)
07/28/2012 09:08:48 PM · #16
My apologies if by my remarks I seemed to overlook the brave men and women of the armed forces of the U.S. and our allies. I am not unaware of the sacrifice capable by those on the battle field and am especially sympathetic regarding the humble return of the troops who boldly served during a time of cultural turmoil while fighting in Vietnam. While I was only born in 1970, my dad served and I was born at Walter Reed.

As for our Canadian friends, I am more aware than you might know of the sacrifices of the Canadian military for our freedoms... Dieppe, Juno, Korean Involvement under the UN, the many individual Canadians who fought for the U.S. during Vietnam, and the many modern peace keeping missions ranging from Kosovo to Somalia, to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thank You.
07/28/2012 09:32:57 PM · #17
Originally posted by jadin:

The comments were pretty disappointing.


Read much further, later on there are a lot more that are sensible.
07/28/2012 10:12:03 PM · #18
Great article, thanks for posting it! I can only hope to one day find myself in a situation where I can take some awsome shots of horrific things going on. As to if I would help or not...depends if I thought the photo could be Pulitzer worthy.
07/28/2012 11:02:19 PM · #19
Originally posted by jovan91:

Great article, thanks for posting it! I can only hope to one day find myself in a situation where I can take some awsome shots of horrific things going on. As to if I would help or not...depends if I thought the photo could be Pulitzer worthy.


doesn't count if you're the one committing the crime
07/29/2012 04:52:11 AM · #20
while i've never been in a life-or-death situation, i have come upon a situation where all i could do - and all i needed to do - was my job.
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/523/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_362081.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/523/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_362081.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

i think you have to ask yourself before you head out the door, "am i ready to handle whatever i am about to face? do i have everything i need to do whatever it is i might have to do?" if you think/know you are going to possibly face violence, you had bettered be ready to either record it, or participate in it. i wouldn't recommend participation, unless you are properly armed...

i think there is a huge difference between paparazzi stalking celebrities and photojournalist bringing us stories from the edge. i would have a hard time characterizing most photojournalists, especially those tasked with covering the rougher edges of existence, as simply exploiting their subjects for fame and fortune. and i think the stories in that article pretty much bears that out.
07/29/2012 09:47:22 AM · #21
There are a couple of things in the article that made me feel a little sick to my stomach:

First quote:

To my shame, it never occurred to me to do anything. To start with, we were white. On our own. The other two photographers didn't get out of the car. Suddenly I realised that Tom had walked into the crowd and stood over the guy. People were so amazed, they just stood back. The man was able to stagger up, around a corner and escape. It was an amazing thing to do. Tom undoubtedly saved the man's life. And, frankly, it had not for a moment occurred to me to intervene.

I didn't occur to him? I realize that you need to turn down your emotions if you're a photojournalist, or you'll never survive. But to not even occur to you to help someone who's getting beaten to death? If you make the choice that showing the world what's happening is more important than saving a life, at least you've considered it. And perhaps there's something to be said in that (though I couldn't do it myself.) But if you've turned off your humanity to the extent that you don't even think "can I help" -- it makes me a little sick.

The other thing that made me a bit queasy was this one:

Suddenly one of them turned to me. "Why are you taking pictures? Did you ask my permission to take a photo of my premises? This is my shop and this is my street now, so fuck off." They became aggressive, and so I backed away with the other photographers.

Of course I wanted to stop them. This was somebody's shop, and what was really sad and silly was that these kids probably lived on this street. This was probably the newsagent where they bought their bread and milk. I wanted to shout, "Stop! How can you do this to your neighbours? Have you lost your minds?" But I didn't say anything. I just took photographs, and talked to the other photographers and onlookers. We were all saying, "Somebody should tell them to stop." But nobody did. We were all waiting for the police to come, and they didn't come for a very long time.


To think there's a group of photographers and bystanders sitting and watching while people lose their livelihoods is different than a lone photographer deciding not to confront a mob.

I think photo journalism is important. I think it's a terribly difficult thing to do emotionally. But in some cases, it seems like it's crossed over the line to paparazzi, not news.

I would feel much better about photo journalism if I heard that Carter waited to see that the family went back for the child after getting food for from the feeding station, or if not, that he picked the child up and brought him to the feeding station. Taking the picture and leaving, without any followup bothers me. Not that he can single-handedly prevent starvation and famine, but could he have made a difference to one child? Shouldn't that be the cost of getting the picture?




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