PDA

View Full Version : "Ghouls Took Photos Of Dying Suicide Girl"


J J Kapsberger
08-12-2010, 09:38
That's the headline for this article (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20100811/tuk-ghouls-took-photos-of-dying-suicide-45dbed5.html).

Most of the story concerns the unfortunate girl's troubles that led her to commit suicide. The lurid headline derives from this part of the article (which I quote):


'"[The coroner] praised the actions of passers-by who tried to help Robyn, but he said some had acted "in a shabby way" by taking photographs as she lay dying.

"You can only presume something like this has never happened to them, but it does make you worried about humanity," he said.

He added: "This was a child's life and you were taking photos on your mobile phones.

"I'm sorry, but I think that is horrid and the people who did that ought to be ashamed of themselves."

The coroner said no one could know what was going through Robyn's mind in the moments before she jumped, but concluded she took her own life.'


I don't know whether the photographers were simply offending the coroner's morals or whether they indeed neglected helping the girl in any way they could (assuming she wasn't beyond all help).

If you happened upon such a scene and had your camera with you, would you take a photo?

photogdave
08-12-2010, 09:45
If you happened upon such a scene and had your camera with you, would you take a photo?

Not in a million years. When I was a press photographer I had to photograph the body of a girl who was molested and murdered, as they brought her out of the crime scene. Most horrible experience of my life.

coelacanth
08-12-2010, 09:49
If you happened upon such a scene and had your camera with you, would you take a photo?

No. There are professionals who do that as their job. I'm not one of them. There are bystanders do that just because they can. I'm not one of them.

dogberryjr
08-12-2010, 09:49
"If you happened upon such a scene and had your camera with you, would you take a photo?"

Nope.

Ken Smith
08-12-2010, 10:02
I don't know whether the photographers were simply offending the coroner's morals or whether they indeed neglected helping the girl in any way they could (assuming she wasn't beyond all help).


They weren't offending the coroner's morals - they were offending humanity's morals. That's assuming enough people have any morals left to actually constitute humanity as a whole still having morals.

John Lawrence
08-12-2010, 10:04
"If you happened upon such a scene and had your camera with you, would you take a photo?"

Nope.


Neither would I.

John

dcsang
08-12-2010, 10:06
If you happened upon such a scene and had your camera with you, would you take a photo?


Not a chance.

I don't even raise my camera towards the homeless nowadays - people need help more than I need another photo...

Dave

Papa Smurf
08-12-2010, 10:08
A long time ago, my brother-in-law and his family were in an automobile wreck on Christmas eve. Their infant girl died in her mother's arms. At the time of the funeral, both sets of Grandparents asked me to photograph the Funeral Parlor, including the casket and the body, just before the funeral. Their logic was that the mother was still in a coma, the father was still in intensive care and no one could say if either would make it. So, I did, when the photos came back I looked at one and only one. In the Funeral Parlor, the body was so pristine that she looked like a china doll. The photos showed something else entirely. The camera does not lie. I took the photos as an act of respect to the Grandparents that knew that they had lost a grandchild and thought that they might still lose a son and a daughter. I believe that the passers-by that took cell phone images will soon regret their actions. The camera does not lie.:(

hipsterdufus
08-12-2010, 10:09
people need help more than I need another photo...

Couldn't have said it better myself. And, while I may have thought of taking a picture, my good sense and common decency would have overruled that fleeting thought very quickly.

oftheherd
08-12-2010, 10:10
If I were absolutely certain there was nothing I could do for the person dying, I might or might not. But aid for the physical or spiritual well being would have to come first. If that weren't a concern, then if I thought it might aid the police/authorities, I might well do so. Just to do it to have the photo would not be of any interest.

I have seen many people dead, in all states from the scene of gruesome deaths to autopsy, and photographed them as part of my job. It didn't bother me to do so. But I didn't take any perverse pleasure from seeing it or doing it either. It was my job and my commitment to helping catch and convict bad guys.

I wonder how many who photographed the dying girl have since removed the photos from their phones? And if they haven't, what is their motive for keeping them?

oftheherd
08-12-2010, 10:15
A long time ago, my brother-in-law and his family were in an automobile wreck on Christmas eve. Their infant girl died in her mother's arms. At the time of the funeral, both sets of Grandparents asked me to photograph the Funeral Parlor, including the casket and the body, just before the funeral. Their logic was that the mother was still in a coma, the father was still in intensive care and no one could say if either would make it. So, I did, when the photos came back I looked at one and only one. In the Funeral Parlor, the body was so pristine that she looked like a china doll. The photos showed something else entirely. The camera does not lie. I took the photos as an act of respect to the Grandparents that knew that they had lost a grandchild and thought that they might still lose a son and a daughter. I believe that the passers-by that took cell phone images will soon regret their actions. The camera does not lie.:(

That must have been a horrible experience for all involved, especially you. I'm glad your were able to share it with us. I am sorry for all. I hope the parents survived and were able to have other children. That wouldn't completely fill the void, but it would help.

swoop
08-12-2010, 10:30
I've probably seen about a dozen actually bodies in my time as a photojournalist. Would I have photographed that girl? Yeah, I probably would have. It's my job. And it's depressing. The worst thing I've ever done was photographing a mother grieving after losing two of her children in a fire. And I'm sure someday I'll do worse. The editors praise you, but you feel like crap afterward. Over and over I show up at these scenes and I know that the only thing I can do is take pictures. I'm not qualified to help these people. I wouldn't even know how. Nothing I do helps anyone. Kevin Carter is the perfect example of the way your sense of morality can tear you apart in this line of work. Where all you can do is stand by and watch as misery affects everyone around you.

Steve_F
08-12-2010, 10:31
Even if I wasn't bound by a 'duty of care' my own morals would ensure that you help others first.

Steve.

bob338
08-12-2010, 10:32
There is a horrible, sensationalist movie called 'The Bridge' about people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. The person who made it conned the Bridge Authority to get his permits and even interviewed the families of the victims BEFORE telling them he had footage of their relative jumping.

In one scene a guy spots a woman about to jump and starts snapping away, they show his pictures in the movie and interview him. Eventually he decides to help her and grabs her off of the railing, which was the right thing to do, but I can't help but wonder why it took so long for the instinct to kick in?

I can't imagine wanting to see a picture of someone moments before suicide, much less being the person taking it.

bob

crawdiddy
08-12-2010, 10:32
What's so special about photography? A writer describes a girl's suicide and publishes the story in a paper, and that's fine. But a photograph of the subject would be disrespectful?

I don't follow this logic.

Ducky
08-12-2010, 10:34
I would not even consider it. Shameful.

bob338
08-12-2010, 10:35
What's so special about photography? A writer describes a girl's suicide and publishes the story in a paper, and that's fine. But a photograph of the subject would be disrespectful?

I don't follow this logic.

the writer is reporting something that has already happened, he cannot do anything about it. the photographer is witness to the scene and probably able to intervene.

bob

crawdiddy
08-12-2010, 10:37
the writer is reporting something that has already happened, he cannot do anything about it. the photographer is witness to the scene and probably able to intervene.

bob

So, you agree that if the girl is already pronounced dead, then there's no problem with photographing her?

J J Kapsberger
08-12-2010, 10:38
They weren't offending the coroner's morals - they were offending humanity's morals. That's assuming enough people have any morals left to actually constitute humanity as a whole still having morals.

You're assuming that your moral position holds for all of "humanity" and that the people taking the pictures acted in a manner that one should call immoral. You've touched on what is for me the most important philosophical question: was it really immoral—'ghoulish'—of them to take photos?

I tend to agree with oftheherd's position (see his post above): if, and only if, I knew that I couldn't offer any help, I wouldn't rule out taking a picture.

I certainly wouldn't take the picture for fun or entertainment.

However, I might consider it such an extraordinary and moving scene that I should capture it and contemplate it later on. The simple act of shooting a scene wouldn't inherently cause (further) harm to the girl.

One other consideration I'd have: I'd not wish to invoke the wrath of people gathered at the scene who would be offended by my taking a picture of her for whatever reason I choose, whether 'ghoulish' or not.

dcsang
08-12-2010, 10:38
What's so special about photography? A writer describes a girl's suicide and publishes the story in a paper, and that's fine. But a photograph of the subject would be disrespectful?

I don't follow this logic.

The writer is writing the story after the fact.
The people on the scene could have chosen to help (or at least respect the body even if the girl didn't respect it herself - i.e. suicide)

There's a clear difference between the two imho.

Dave

crawdiddy
08-12-2010, 10:41
The writer is writing the story after the fact.
The people on the scene could have chosen to help (or at least respect the body even if the girl didn't respect it herself - i.e. suicide)

There's a clear difference between the two imho.

Dave

If the victim is dead, then the photographer is documenting the scene after the fact. How is this more disrespectful than writing a story about it, and publishing it in a paper for money?

bob338
08-12-2010, 10:42
So, you agree that if the girl is already pronounced dead, then there's no problem with photographing her?

i don't think there is a moral question of photographing the dead. i do think there is a major moral question in photographing the about-to-be dead.

bob

bob338
08-12-2010, 10:47
The simple act of shooting a scene wouldn't inherently cause (further) harm to the girl.


but the simple act of choosing to take a picture instead of helping her most certainly would further harm her.


bob

MartinP
08-12-2010, 10:48
If the victim is dead, then the photographer is documenting the scene after the fact.

I disagree. That is the task of the police photographer and the processes that go along with the inquest. The people taking cameraphone snaps were probably (just a guess, but...) going to show them to their mates in the bar later. By that point the person was apparently beyond help, though it is likely none of those making photographs was medically qualified to make an examination to determine that fact, so a reasonable person might consider the effect on the family and friends of having their daughters corpse used for a laugh in a bar.

back alley
08-12-2010, 10:53
would it be ok/better if it weren't a camera phone?

nikon_sam
08-12-2010, 10:53
Several years ago, while cycling, I came across the scene of a head-on crash...moments before I had been passed by one of the cars, a 1959 Austin-Healy...
When I arrived at the intersection I could not believe what was before me...the driver of the Austin-Healy had been ejected from the car (no seat belts and top down) as he lay on the street he was indeed dying due to massive internal and head injuries...I was kneeling next to him when I believe he passed...
Several minutes later the Medics arrived and within 5-10 minutes stopped working on him...
During this time I was directing traffic...this guy in a van drives by with his cell phone camera pointing out the window shooting the scene...well needless to say I was pissed...I was tempted to hit the side of the van as he drove by...

This made me rethink the times I have pointed a camera out the window when passing a similar scene...
If I come across an accident these days and I see no bodies but just damaged cars and the local police I might shoot...but I do remember how I felt when that guy stuck out his camera...
I wouldn't hesitate to help anyone in need whether I have a camera or not...

I wanted to add this...
In the local newspaper the following day they ran a story of this accident and I must say the photographer was very kind to the family of the deceased...the angle of the photo showed what it needed to without showing the worst of it...my hat is off to him/her...

photogdave
08-12-2010, 10:54
You have to draw a line somewhere. The reporter is reporting a news event. The story further reports on bullying, teen depression, and callous snapshooters. It is informational and helpful, if it leads to further exploration and discussion of theses issues, like we're doing here.
Citizens snapping photos of the girl, whether in the process of dying or already dead, is not helping anything or anyone.

crawdiddy
08-12-2010, 10:56
And what does the family think about all of us reading the account in the niewspaper? What's the difference? Why is one disrespectful and the other acceptable?

photogdave
08-12-2010, 10:56
would it be ok/better if it weren't a camera phone?
I really don't believe anyone was implying that.

photogdave
08-12-2010, 10:57
And what does the family think about all of us reading the account in the niewspaper? What's the difference? Why is one disrespectful and the other acceptable?
See my post above.

J J Kapsberger
08-12-2010, 10:58
but the simple act of choosing to take a picture instead of helping her most certainly would further harm her.


bob

Agreed, it would certainly be harm through negligence. So, I wouldn't chose taking a picture over helping her if I could in fact help her.

There's no indication in the article as to whether those who took the cell phone shots could've helped her but neglected to do so.

crawdiddy
08-12-2010, 11:00
You have to draw a line somewhere. The reporter is reporting a news event. The story further reports on bullying, teen depression, and callous snapshooters. It is informational and helpful, if it leads to further exploration and discussion of theses issues, like we're doing here.
Citizens snapping photos of the girl, whether in the process of dying or already dead, is not helping anything or anyone.

What about amateur bloggers? Are they entitled to write about news events?

I'm not buying this at all.

MartinP
08-12-2010, 11:01
would it be ok/better if it weren't a camera phone?

Is that supposed to be a serious question ? At the very least it suggests that you haven't read the article and is disappointing given your position.

bob338
08-12-2010, 11:04
Is that supposed to be a serious question ? At the very least it suggests that you haven't read the article and is disappointing given your position.

the question seemed a bit disrespectful to me too.

bob

jsrockit
08-12-2010, 11:08
I couldn't do it... I couldn't even look at it to be honest.

back alley
08-12-2010, 11:08
all the good and judgemental people...

crawdiddy
08-12-2010, 11:09
I couldn't do it... I couldn't even look at it to be honest.

But you'll read a story about it, right?

dcsang
08-12-2010, 11:09
If the victim is dead, then the photographer is documenting the scene after the fact. How is this more disrespectful than writing a story about it, and publishing it in a paper for money?

As mentioned, a police officer documenting the scene or a news reporter documenting the scene (however I know of no newspapers that would really outright show a suicide victim - but then again, I'm in North America.. perhaps there are papers elsewhere that actually would go ahead and show such a thing) is perfectly acceptable in my opinion.

A bypasser who happens upon the scene who could have offered help (either to the victim or the ex-boyfriend or family member) but instead decides to take out a camera phone (or point and shoot or Leica M or Bessa R or what have you) for no other reason than to say "Hey, look at this cool street scene I shot !!" has no respect for the dead (or about-to-be dead), no respect for the victim's family/friends that may be present or, for that matter, no respect for themselves.

Just my opinion mind you - I just wouldn't do it.

Dave

Roger Hicks
08-12-2010, 11:13
Dan has to be right, logically. It is hard to construct a logical framework in which it is OK to write about it (or even discuss it here) but not to take a picture. The Vox Pop 'I was there' is greatly encouraged by the media, and this pushes it further.

Emotionally, I have much less of a problem in understanding why I (and others) wouldn't/shouldn't take the pictures.

But who remembers the picture 10 or 20 years ago about the fellow who fell onto a spiked railing and had a spike through his lower jaw, like a badly hooked fish? It appeared, I believe, in several newspapers.

Cheers,

R.

crawdiddy
08-12-2010, 11:14
Do we consider photography to be too powerful? Is that why so many people say they would not photograph a corpse? And yet no one has said that it's wrong to write a sensational news story about a suicide.

Why is photography special? Are we afraid we'll steal their souls?

Roger Hicks
08-12-2010, 11:17
As mentioned, a police officer documenting the scene or a news reporter documenting the scene (however I know of no newspapers that would really outright show a suicide victim - but then again, I'm in North America.. perhaps there are papers elsewhere that actually would go ahead and show such a thing) is perfectly acceptable in my opinion.

A bypasser who happens upon the scene who could have offered help (either to the victim or the ex-boyfriend or family member) but instead decides to take out a camera phone (or point and shoot or Leica M or Bessa R or what have you) for no other reason than to say "Hey, look at this cool street scene I shot !!" has no respect for the dead (or about-to-be dead), no respect for the victim's family/friends that may be present or, for that matter, no respect for themselves.

Just my opinion mind you - I just wouldn't do it.

Dave
Dear Dave,

As Fred said: Weegee. Remember the dead young woman lying (surprisingly peacefully) on the crushed roof of the car? For that matter, public executions: Tom Howard's Ruth Snyder?

The America press has already done it. Lots of times.

Cheers,

R.

bob338
08-12-2010, 11:21
Do we consider photography to be too powerful? Is that why so many people say they would not photograph a corpse? And yet no one has said that it's wrong to write a sensational news story about a suicide.

Why is photography special? Are we afraid we'll steal their souls?

could it be that photography isn't so special but the last few moments of a persons life are? why not allow them their dignity, or try to help them?
i have no problem with photographing a corpse. i have a problem with witnessing someone about to become one and taking a picture instead of trying to help them.

bob

dcsang
08-12-2010, 11:23
I would agree, from a logical perspective, that Dan is "correct" - with his logic mind you - but we all know humans are not entirely logical at times. :D

For example, put yourself in the "victims family's" shoes. Say your youngest son (or your mother, or your wife, or brother or what have you) ends up killing themselves and you are on the scene. How would [b]YOU[/b} feel about me whipping out my camera and taking a photo of it for no reason other than I found it "interesting" ?

It's all about our "limits as human beings " in what we deem acceptable. The original post by Messr Kapsberger asks: If you happened upon such a scene and had your camera with you, would you take a photo?

So to Dan, the answer may be "yep.. sure.. why not" while to others it is or may be "nope... "

To some, clearly it's acceptable, and to others it is not.

Dave

jljohn
08-12-2010, 11:26
I seem to hold something of an unpopular opinion: I probably would take the picture, I thought I could do something good with it, and I don't know how taking it could be construed as immoral. I think that one of the most powerful images I have ever seen was Kevin Carters 1994 Pulitzer Prize Winning Photo of a starving child. Google it if you don't know the image. The vast majority of the conversation in this thread so far would deem the taking of that image to be either wrong or immoral. If the image can impact others to do good, raise awareness, etc., then maybe we shouldn't be so hard on the photographer.


Separate point: I didn't ask the question, but this is where the question "would it be ok/better if it weren't a camera phone" comes in. I think the point being made was, this: Suppose that the folk taking pictures were wearing a photo vest or carrying a Domke (Think Tank, etc) and shooting with a D3 fitted with a 24-70 f/2.8 instead of cell-phones. If you were observing this scene, would that alter your perception of the morality of the person taking the picture? If so, then maybe the act of making the photograph is not immoral. Maybe our real concern in what we do with sensitive images. I, for one, would think it poor taste use the images to show off to your friends.

Jeremy

dcsang
08-12-2010, 11:30
Dear Dave,

As Fred said: Weegee. Remember the dead young woman lying (surprisingly peacefully) on the crushed roof of the car? For that matter, public executions: Tom Howard's Ruth Snyder?

The America press has already done it. Lots of times.

Cheers,

R.

Yep.. like I said Roger.. I don't know of any but clearly that doesn't mean there hasn't been any.

With respect to public executions - I'm sure you know how Eddie Adams felt about photographing Nguyễn Ngọc Loan execute Nguyễn Văn Lém - granted it wasn't the victim that was heavily impacted but the surviving executioner...

Dave

weetsie
08-12-2010, 11:33
i think its far more important what you do with the photo than if you take it or not.

jljohn
08-12-2010, 11:36
i think its far more important what you do with the photo than if you take it or not.

Precisely!

Brian Legge
08-12-2010, 11:42
I wouldn't have.

Between the internet as a publication device and the media now using the publics photos, I think we as a society set up a situation where anyone may view themselves as a photojournalist in any situation. Whether the individuals justification is altruistic or selfish, anyones work may be published and could be important.

The conflict is that these people don't know what to shoot, when to shoot, etc. It makes everyone into an observer instead of a participant in the moment or event. There are no ethics or understanding.

Frankly, I don't know how this gets resolved. When I photograph local events, there are almost as many photographers as their are participants. This all seems related to the same thing some how, though I can't put the pieces together in my head.

J J Kapsberger
08-12-2010, 11:49
As mentioned, a...news reporter documenting the scene...is perfectly acceptable in my opinion.

Dave,

I can't see the difference, especially in sensational stories such as this, between looking at photos taken by a news photographer and at those taken by an amateur. There's an element of living vicariously, being at a scene by way of someone else's words and photos.

If you can allow yourself to be at the scene through a pro's photos, why can't you allow yourself to be at the scene through an amateur's photos or through your own photos?

In your previous post, you mentioned respecting the dead body. Does a photographer show more respect for the dead body simply because he's paid to shoot pictures?

Are an amateur's photographs of a death scene inherently disrespectful of the dead?

pevelg
08-12-2010, 11:57
Here is a quote from Wikipedia by Shakespeare:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;

How can we judge this situation, not being there?

I don't know myself well enough to know if I'd take that picture or not.

Socrates:
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Be it wrong or right, it causes us to question. That alone can be reason enough.

dogberryjr
08-12-2010, 12:06
What's so special about photography? A writer describes a girl's suicide and publishes the story in a paper, and that's fine. But a photograph of the subject would be disrespectful?

I don't follow this logic.
The coroner wasn't blasting working photographers, rather people stopping to photograph the scene for their own interests. Your comparison of a writer documenting the event works if the photographers were similarly working in the public interest, but they were not. Their photographs are inspired by morbid interest. The event could be written about in a morbid, sensationalistic fashion too, and that would not pass the smell test.

antiquark
08-12-2010, 12:13
Why is photography special? Are we afraid we'll steal their souls?

Because it could end up as a crude "joke" circulating around the internet.

dcsang
08-12-2010, 12:15
Dave,

I can't see the difference, especially in sensational stories such as this, between looking at photos taken by a news photographer and at those taken by an amateur. There's an element of living vicariously, being at a scene by way of someone else's words and photos.

If you can allow yourself to be at the scene through a pro's photos, why can't you allow yourself to be at the scene through an amateur's photos or through your own photos?

In your previous post, you mentioned respecting the dead body. Does a photographer show more respect for the dead body simply because he's paid to shoot pictures?

Are an amateur's photographs of a death scene inherently disrespectful of the dead?

I suggest you refer to my last post (before this one) on this topic:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1388984&postcount=47

It basically sums up my feelings on it.

You asked if *I* would take the photo.
I would not.

Clearly others would.

Dave

photogdave
08-12-2010, 12:18
What about amateur bloggers? Are they entitled to write about news events?

I'm not buying this at all.
Personally I don't think they are. They don't have the same skills and resources as a trained journalist. I think it's a sad state of affairs when people believe blogs are legitimate news.

Andy Kibber
08-12-2010, 12:20
I agree with Roger, there's a heart vs. head tug here.

Mike Johnston on The Online Photographer wrote about this type of thing a while ago:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2009/05/splat-an-ethical-conundrum.html

_mark__
08-12-2010, 12:23
Do we consider photography to be too powerful? Is that why so many people say they would not photograph a corpse? And yet no one has said that it's wrong to write a sensational news story about a suicide.


Do you really discern no difference between a written account and a photographic one? Or are you just being deliberately obtuse about a tragic subject?

morgan
08-12-2010, 12:28
It's a little ironic, the more skilled I become as a photographer, the less I want to shoot any kind of trauma. There's no point and seems to be merely exploitative and self-serving. That said, I can understand someone taking a photo of this scene if there was nothing they could do to help. Having been in some circumstances like this, my first instinct is to help, not to reach for my camera.

RE: are blogs news? Of course they are. What is real news anyway? In these days of fox news, journalistic integrity and neutrality is out the window. There have been tons of stories that have broken in blogs way before the mainstream media catches on.

PKR
08-12-2010, 12:29
I saw this happen at a local train station. Some one was injured and rather than call for help, the youngsters photographed the victim with their cell phone cameras, hoping to be the first to post the images to some social network. I heard them talking about the accident. The new "photo journalism"?

pevelg
08-12-2010, 12:30
http://www.worldsfamousphotos.com/

filmfan
08-12-2010, 12:34
Disturbing stuff. Thanks a lot!

skibeerr
08-12-2010, 12:44
Sad, beginning middle and end.

What if it was your kid lying there?

newspaperguy
08-12-2010, 12:50
I started as a cub in the photo biz on police the police beat in Gary, IN. I had seen more blood than most surgeons by the time I enlisted. Then of course, I ended up shooting crime scenes for the CID. (Think the Army version of NCIS or CSI)

Like a forensic scientist, you have to get used to it. build a wall.

That said, there's a huge difference between someone shooting for a living, someone who has to be there, and some looky-loo with a cell phone and a gore complex.

Darshan
08-12-2010, 12:50
Interesting perspective presented by all, makes me think what would I do.


'"[The coroner] praised the actions of passers-by who tried to help Robyn, but he said some had acted "in a shabby way" by taking photographs as she lay dying.


The original article specifically mentions "lay dying", it does not mention that she was already dead. And I believe if a person is in need of help, anyone can help him/her regardless of his/her capacity. I disagree with the person who says that he couldn't have helped even if he wanted to. I don't know if this belief is related to my profession or not (I am a physician), but that is my opinion...you can always help someone who is dying.

Talking about profession, a lot of people who said that would photograph a dying person are/have been PJ's, makes me think that they have overcome that horrific feeling of seeing someone dying/dead.

I don't think morality is a part playing in your decision to/not to photograph such an event, just as the OP asked; "would you photograph..?", I can ask; "why wouldn't you photograph?". I believe there is a component of decency or courtsy to the dead that can play a role here. If your job is dependent of photographing as event like this, it is not immoral to do it, on the other hand I would refrain myself from doing it as a hobby.

So my answer is: NO, I wouldn't photograph such an event, but I can't say that for everybody out there.

Commiting suicide is a pathological state of mind and that person needs help. You cannot photograph someone jumping off the bridge and not help him/her thinking he/she has the right to do so.

@JSU: man, you have 4294967189 posts since you joined (July, 09), that's 10578737 posts/day, 440780 posts/hour and 7346 posts/minute!!!! Is it even possible? or someone is manipulating the #s?

Cheers,
Dan.

dcsang
08-12-2010, 12:50
RE: are blogs news? Of course they are. What is real news anyway? In these days of fox news, journalistic integrity and neutrality is out the window. There have been tons of stories that have broken in blogs way before the mainstream media catches on.
<aside>

And then there's stuff like this story that "broke" via "The Chive" this past Tuesday August 10 (never heard of the site before):
http://thechive.com/2010/08/10/girl-quits-her-job-on-dry-erase-board-emails-entire-office-33-photos/

It actually got picked up by mainstream media - more as an "entertainment" piece I believe. Apparently MSNBC picked it up. So did NY Magazine:
http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/08/another_excellent_way_to_say_i.html

The next day, August 11, The Chive revealed the whole thing was a hoax:
http://thechive.com/2010/08/11/a-word-from-jenny-16-photos/

Yet it goes to show just how "trusting" people can be to what is online.

So, personally, I don't believe sh!te I read in a blog - a blog is someone's opinion, someone's point of view, someone's skewed way of looking at something. The same can be said for Fox news or for NPR for that matter. :D There are at least 3 sides to every story so without hearing from all it's hard to paint or have a complete picture... (pardon the pun)

</aside>

Now back to your regularly scheduled posting..

Dave

jsrockit
08-12-2010, 13:17
Just remember some of the photos that were posted in the NYC papers (daily news for one) the day after 9/11... very gross and morbid stuff.

PKR
08-12-2010, 13:18
Do I think it's immoral? I dunno.

Well:

I think it's all in your reaction to the situation. Is a F###ing photo more important than aiding someone in trouble? If you have trouble with this kind of decision, I don't know what to say..

crawdiddy
08-12-2010, 13:18
Do you really discern no difference between a written account and a photographic one? Or are you just being deliberately obtuse about a tragic subject?

Correct. There is no difference.

And do you believe everyone who disagrees with you lacks intellectual rigor?

antiquark
08-12-2010, 14:15
Correct. There is no difference.
And do you believe everyone who disagrees with you lacks intellectual rigor?

So for you there is no difference between a newscaster saying
"someone had sex" and a video showing actual people having sex?

Leigh Youdale
08-12-2010, 14:53
After reading these posts I'm left wondering if the debate isn't more about the human psyche than about the incident itself. For example, I can imagine that if the scene was one where a horse had been in collision with a car and was so injured it was about to die, would you take the photo whereas if it were a human you would not?
Would you feel as compelled to go to the aid of a dying horse as to a dying human? Even if you're neither a veterinarian or a doctor?
In the case of a human, would it make any difference to your intent if the fatality were due to a traffic accident than a suicide?
The atheistic rationalist (and I'm probably close to that position) might say we're just another evolved species - that there is no heaven or hell - and what you're seeing is just a dead or dying body. Basically no difference.
But as a species we seem to be hard wired to protect and preserve our 'selves'. A horse is a horse. A human is one of us, and we are inclined (unless desensitised) to feel vulnerability, threat, compassion - any number of emotions which are not entirely rational.
Arising out of this of course are the concepts of "sanctity of human life', the Hippocratic Oath, and interwoven are beliefs in an afterlife.

What I'm trying ask is whether the answer to the original question is about a lot more than opportunity or potential use of the images - it's probably much more about some of the things (values) that make us different as a species, and why this is so.
I'm not wanting nor inviting any discussion or examination of what any may interpret as my personal beliefs, and if you hadn't guessed already, I don't think it's anything to do with religion. Humans came along a lot earlier than religion.

photogdave
08-12-2010, 14:58
The idea that, as a rule (which is how it's always stated) "journalists" have some essential quality that bloggers do not is really just indefensible. Unless that quality is "an expense account".


Journalists have MANY essential qualities bloggers don't have: education, experience, resources, editors to check your work...

PKR
08-12-2010, 15:08
I agree Dave, but I think things are changing.

Chris101
08-12-2010, 15:28
... The most beautiful suicide

On May 1, 1947, Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the observation deck of the Empire State Building.
...

Bizarre juxtaposition of name, method of death, and the importance of a post mortem picture:

http://www.phxart.org/slideshow/index.html#/COL/72157606224219494/2677532119/

dcsang
08-12-2010, 15:34
I wonder, would the Wile photograph been as "beautiful" had her body been more mangled, her face unrecognizable due to it being battered and bloodied from potentially hitting "objects" on the way down and if it were in colour.

I think this truly is more about how each of us deal with this "sort of thing" - as I said earlier, some of us don't care too much and are hardened to it and therefore would snap away while others can't even take watching a doctor draw blood from a baby's arm and look away or try to comfort the child.

We are all wired differently.

We should be thankful for that..

Dave

ampguy
08-12-2010, 15:41
A book I recently read called "The Model Wife" discusses, and shows a few contact images taken by a photographer named Seeichi Furuya, who photographed his wife just after she jumped out of a building to her death. Hen na ko? desyou ka?

Later he printed some 400 photos taken of her while she was alive and exhibited them.

I highly recommend the book. It goes into the relationship between some photographers and their wives, and sometimes models.

PKR
08-12-2010, 15:46
Bizarre juxtaposition of name, method of death, and the importance of a post mortem picture:

http://www.phxart.org/slideshow/index.html#/COL/72157606224219494/2677532119/

Warhol was a strange guy. Go have a look at Avedon's photo of Warhol's stomach. It should be easy to find. His face, as I recall, isn't in the photo (Avedon did a head shot too, it's a different image).

here it is:
http://www.metmuseum.org/special/Richard_Avedon/3.L.htm

Darshan
08-12-2010, 15:48
For example, I can imagine that if the scene was one where a horse had been in collision with a car and was so injured it was about to die, would you take the photo whereas if it were a human you would not?

I have seen at least 2 incidents where a car collided with a horse, and in both those instances the cars were seriously injured and the horses ran away :).

But I see what you mean, I think I would try to help the horse but won't feel too obligated to do so compared to if it were a human.

Moral is a moral, not a law. I can't stop anyone from photographing something. Everyone needs to draw a limit to what is acceptable to them not to others, as far as no laws are broken.

Dan.

benlees
08-12-2010, 16:02
Correct. There is no difference.

And do you believe everyone who disagrees with you lacks intellectual rigor?

Being an open minded person, I would love to see the intellectual rigor involved in the exercise of maintaining that an event recorded as it is happening is one and the same as broadcasting/publishing interpretations of that event in the future.

I suspect push ups might be easier, but much less interesting.:D

PKR
08-12-2010, 16:18
If the issue is with a press photographer, then I place the photographer in the same "job" criteria as a EMT. Other than that, i think it has a bit to do with the value we place on a life. In some parts of the world, life has little value. Maybe things are changing in our part?

flip
08-12-2010, 16:41
Y
With respect to public executions - I'm sure you know how Eddie Adams felt about photographing Nguyễn Ngọc Loan execute Nguyễn Văn Lém - granted it wasn't the victim that was heavily impacted but the surviving executioner...
Dave

That is exactly the photo that came to mind for me when I read:


i have no problem with photographing a corpse. i have a problem with witnessing someone about to become one and taking a picture instead of trying to help them.
bob

What does this mean for war photojournalism? Is it equivalent to snuff footage? I guess intent is the dividing line.

Personally, I am a cautious type. I tend to err towards respecting perceptions of space, privacy, feelings. That's probably a factor that limits me as a photographer, really. However, having spent time with my friend's corpse at his funeral, I already have an image that I cannot shake. Enough for me.

In regards to


There is a horrible, sensationalist movie called 'The Bridge' about people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.

I did not enjoy this movie. (Who would, really?) ...But documentation of events has its place. I am not sure how one can morally rebuff a photog for documenting reality (presumably with some intent to start dialog) and not impugn society for doing nothing (at that time) about statistics that evidenced a continuing suicide trend at that location. To the extent that the movie is sensationalistic, it lacks taste (IMHO). I just wish we didn't have a world that supplied fodder for such films. I wonder if the movie had any positive impact on bridge safety or suicide prevention. I hope that was part of the intent.

Context is everything.

[ Incidentally, Bob, I think our personal tastes on the matter are not so far apart, and I have no issue with your personal reaction to the media we've discussed. So, please don't take exception to the references above. ]

Papa Smurf
08-12-2010, 16:51
i think its far more important what you do with the photo than if you take it or not.

The issue, to me is one of respect for each person's right to privacy. There are those that believe that if it occurs in public view, it is news and therefore the individuals involved have forfeited their right to privacy. As a professional, a photographer might be able to control its usage; however. amateurs, as a rule, might not be able to do the same. The social sites and blogs on the internet are full of such examples. How do the teenage girls that were "just goofing around" with a friend feel when they learn that they, in all of their glory and most intimate moment, are displayed on the Internet? How does the parents of this girl feel about pictures of her in her last moments of life are being forwarded around the World? :confused:

pevelg
08-12-2010, 17:02
There is nothing more natural than death. The depiction of it in, among other forms, dance, literature, painting, sculpture, and yes, photography, is as natural as the curiosity that accompanies one of the two most significant moments of the mortal coil.
The choice as to one's actions surrounding the death of a being is each individual's. Also natural.
History may judge them and perspective may judge them. And we may think that we may or may not do what we purport. We who judge in absentia with assumptions as to the behavior of those involved should be wise with the rocks in our hands. The walls may be rather more delicate than we think.

Well said.

sig
08-12-2010, 17:39
In fact a lot of papers and news media do not even report suicide due to the tendency to copy cats......

On the original question, no I would most likely not use the photo op.

sepiareverb
08-12-2010, 18:03
Weegee comes to mind. Nicholas Nixon as well, in a different context.

I'd not have any moral compunction to stop anyone from shooting, and would imagine one could make a powerful image of such a scene. Not knowing proper medical procedures "help" is certainly likely to do more harm than good as zumbido says, and my sister (an EMT, and my wife a nurse agree with). A crowd of people is also sure to not be of help- one or two perhaps, but six, eight? No.

As so often happens, what is OK for one is not OK for another, and the mob rule decides what is OK for all. I bet I'd shoot it.

J J Kapsberger
08-12-2010, 18:29
What is with this aggressive, nasty assumption that people would take a photo instead of help?...,and the coroner's statement is particularly silly. He said that "some" people helped but others just stood around? How many is some? If two people were helping, three at most, anyone else would have hindered not helped. And unless they were properly trained, the ones helping nearly always do more harm than good (my paramedic friends do not have a whole lot nice to say about "good samaritans" who do anything more than obvious things like getting the person out of the way of further harm, putting pressure on lacerations, or icing severed parts).

You're using a false dilemma as an excuse to nastily attack people who may be disagreeing with you about an entirely different question.

Correct. Several posts in this thread are based on the assumption that the photo takers could've helped but chose instead to take pictures. Nothing in the article says that was the case.

And we don't know whether the coroner was stating a fact—that people neglected their duty to help when in fact they could have—or merely expressing disgust at behaviour that offends is personal morals.

antiquark
08-12-2010, 18:39
Maybe some other questions would be:

- Were the photographers showing empathy?

- Should people, in general, be empathetic?

Neare
08-12-2010, 18:53
What if the situation was that there were numerous other people helping the girl already, then as a photographer would you take a picture?

I think if it was myself alone, I would be helping her not taking pictures.

The other situation though, hard to say.

raid
08-12-2010, 18:55
I would try to help out, and even if I cannot, I would not take photos unless I had been on an assignment to take photos there professionally.

antiquark
08-12-2010, 19:07
Possibly interesting questions, but I think as stated they're impossibly broad... as a first step I'm wondering what would "showing empathy" look like in this situation.

I think it depends on the motivation of the person taking the picture. Sometimes, someone will take a picture like that because they want to convey a message to the world (think Nick Ut).

However I have a feeling the cameraphone photographers were more interested in showing a kEwL photo to their friends, and didn't much care about changing the world.

Pablito
08-12-2010, 19:19
all the good and judgemental people...

yes indeed.

Freakscene
08-12-2010, 19:25
It doesn't matter what people do if they don't break the law. In most countries we don't live under rule of morality, we live under rule of law. If there is no law that says "don't take pictures of dying suicide victims" all you can say is "I would" or "I wouldn't" for personal reasons that are objectively of little interest. The coroner's position is meant to be limited to establishing the identity of a dead person, their cause of death and whether an inquiry is required. In the UK coroners no longer have the power to recommend charges from an inquiry but the police or Crown Prosecution Service can take the coroner's findings and proceed with charges if they find the coroner's evidence sufficiently compelling. In using such emotive language, all this story makes me is worried about one of the West Dorset coroners, who seems to think he is an arbiter of morality rather than someone whose job is to investigate deaths and establish a cause, a very important and serious role. The editorial bores me to tears.

Marty

Pablito
08-12-2010, 19:28
The camera does not lie.:(

Eh?
Well maybe. I remember there was a talking camera at one point, back when every manufacturer was jamming as much gimmicky electronics as possible into every camera (1980s..) An SLR, maybe Minolta. . It would say "too close" or "use flash." Of course you could turn that feature off. But I don't remember if you could set it to tell lies.

antiquark
08-12-2010, 19:40
It doesn't matter what people do if they don't break the law,

I think a modicum of politeness is needed to help society run more smoothly. How this relates to cameras, I don't know.

Jason Sprenger
08-12-2010, 20:02
The law is society's lowest form of morality as that is all that can morally forced upon people and way too often, not even then.

Yes, we all should aspire to its highest morality, but don't expect it, and be grateful for it when it is present.

Creagerj
08-12-2010, 20:14
If I felt like there was nothing I could do to help, then yes. I wouldn't sell the photo, but I would take it.

mfunnell
08-12-2010, 20:22
This was not a circumstance where someone died (for which I'm thankful) but one where someone was injured. I did take some photos.

This is what I said about the photos:


An accident on George Street, near Town Hall. An older lady had taken a bad fall. I came on the scene later, and quite deliberately didn't photograph the injured lady. It was nice to see, though, that any number of bystanders stopped to help. It was also handy that a number of medical types were walking through the city, handing out flyers for a fund-raising doctors' orchestra - they were on-hand to provide some expert assistance almost immediately.And one of the photos I took:
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1052/1105347037_99495df433_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mfunnell/1105347037/)

Does this make me a bad person?

...Mike

photogdave
08-12-2010, 20:40
This was not a circumstance where someone died (for which I'm thankful) but one where someone was injured. I did take some photos.

This is what I said about the photos:

And one of the photos I took:
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1052/1105347037_99495df433_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mfunnell/1105347037/)

Does this make me a bad person?

...Mike
This is a great example of what happens when an amateur (news) photographer shoots at the scene of an accident vs. a pro.
No offense Mike (I mean this sincerely) but this is not a good "hard news" photo. I can just see my old PJ professor or one of my old editors looking at his and saying "what am I supposed to be looking at? What is going on in this shot? Why should I be interested in this?" Etc. etc.
The photo doesn't help the situation. It's of no benefit to the injured parties and it's not a good enough shot to illustrate the importance of emergency service workers. There is also the strong possibility that an amateur shooter could be in the way in an emergency situation and do more harm than good. This is why only trained pros should be shooting in these situations.
No Mike, you're not a bad person! I'm not picking on you but just using this shot to illustrate my objections to non-professional photographers trying to make photos at emergency scenes.

Avotius
08-12-2010, 20:43
I have photographed some scenes here kind of like this but the context is very different. People taking their own lives but in defiance of the g.o.v.e.r.n.m.e.n.t (the you know who love to pick this word out here) when they move in to take the houses in a neighborhood without fare pay. Many people here can never pay for a new house in their lifetimes so when they have their old houses taken some decide a grand public display is the best way to voice their lack of power against the man. I have also grabbed photos of the aftermath of retaliation of g.o.v who routinely run people over in the streets with unmarked cars who are the most troublesome organizers.

In these cases when you photograph the end of peoples existence....well its up to you, but I think as I am doing an ongoing project here about the transformation of this society I have to capture these details as well or else I risk becoming a propaganda pusher for "them".

flip
08-12-2010, 21:07
The law is society's lowest form of morality as that is all that can morally forced upon people and way too often, not even then.

Law and morality are dancers who kiss for show.

mfunnell
08-12-2010, 21:20
There is also the strong possibility that an amateur shooter could be in the way in an emergency situation and do more harm than good. This is why only trained pros should be shooting in these situations.
No Mike, you're not a bad person!Actually, I think you just said that I am.

...Mike

photogdave
08-12-2010, 21:29
Actually, I think you just said that I am.

...Mike
No, because I trust you had the good sense to stay out of the way. Others may not.
I'm trying to illustrate what COULD happen, not imply what you did. Sorry if I'm not clear. It's getting late here...

mfunnell
08-12-2010, 21:47
Sorry if I'm not clear.Fair enough.

...Mike

Lilserenity
08-12-2010, 23:08
Not in a million years would I do this, and if I saw someone doing it I would probably go out of my way to shove them away and out of the scene.

I'm sure someone will disagree but I've got my opinion, you've got yours, time to suck it up.

For me these people crossed a very defined boundary in my view of ethics and I struggle to find an explanation of what would cross into somebody's mind to think taking a photo of a dying person who committed suicide is a OK thing to do.

Vicky

flip
08-12-2010, 23:42
For me these people crossed a very defined boundary in my view of ethics and I struggle to find an explanation of what would cross into somebody's mind to think taking a photo of a dying person who committed suicide is a OK thing to do.
Vicky

I'm sure most are not troubled by, say, the Goering suicide picture. Served a necessary purpose, I might add. Not a job I'd want, though.

Roger Hicks
08-12-2010, 23:53
Not in a million years would I do this, and if I saw someone doing it I would probably go out of my way to shove them away and out of the scene.

I'm sure someone will disagree but I've got my opinion, you've got yours, time to suck it up.

For me these people crossed a very defined boundary in my view of ethics and I struggle to find an explanation of what would cross into somebody's mind to think taking a photo of a dying person who committed suicide is a OK thing to do.

Vicky

Dear Vicky,

This is another interesting example of what one would or would not do, and what is legal.

I would not photograph the dying girl, even though it is legal to do so and even though I fully accept the point that logically there is no difference between writing about it and photographing it. I just wouldn't. It's not in good taste.

But equally, I would not commit a common assault, breaking the law, by attacking someone who was taking the picture. To me, that is morally similar to taking the picture: 'morally' in the sense of 'good or bad for civil society'.

Cheers,

R.

Lilserenity
08-13-2010, 00:05
But equally, I would not commit a common assault, breaking the law, by attacking someone who was taking the picture. To me, that is morally similar to taking the picture: 'morally' in the sense of 'good or bad for civil society'.
R.

Sorry it's something I feel strongly about, if pushing someone away from the scene in this instance made me liable to prosecution then so be it, I just could not live with myself and stand by and mutter about it with distaste after the event. It should be noted though I have never ever slapped or shoved anybody -- so my reaction isn't something I have a record of doing, nor hope I ever have to.

Of course I am hypocritical in what I consider right and wrong, I'm human, it's just the way I feel about this issue and I might as well be honest about it in my response.

Vicky

Chris101
08-13-2010, 00:12
Warhol was a strange guy. Go have a look at Avedon's photo of Warhol's stomach. It should be easy to find. His face, as I recall, isn't in the photo (Avedon did a head shot too, it's a different image).

here it is:
http://www.metmuseum.org/special/Richard_Avedon/3.L.htm

Warhol was strange but the link is to a Frida Kahlo paining: El suicido de Dorothy Hale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Hale#Frida_Kahlo_painting). It's about a young socialite, Dorothy Hale, who jumped to her death from a tall building in Manhattan 11 years prior to McHale.

Paul_C
08-13-2010, 00:13
I don't know. Without being there I just can't say.

I did photograph my grandmother while she was dying. She was in the hospital, had had a stroke. I spent a fair amount of time there, holding her hand, talking to her, just sitting there with her. And also took some pictures. She was most certainly dying at the time and passed shortly after.

Photography is part of how I interact with and handle the world around me. It's very personal.

A nurse took offense, but taking those pictures was important for me. I don't know if that makes me a ghoul, tasteless, or maybe just selfish.

I don't know if I'll ever share those photos, even with family that's in them. They're difficult and painful to deal with. I rarely look at them. Thinking about them is hard.

I'm glad I have them.

thegman
08-13-2010, 00:23
When I first read this story, I thought it was just awful that someone could take photographs of the dead or dying, just because they could. I still feel that way, it's hard to understand how someone could do that, although I guess everyone has their own motives for doing so.

However, every day, photographers are applauded and given awards for taking pictures of the dead or dying in war zones.

Is it terrible to take a photograph of the dead or dying in a "civilized" city, using a mobile phone, but if you are in an "uncivilized" nation, who worship a different god to you, and have different colour skin, it's OK?

I'm not saying that I think the above is completely the case, but it's interesting how war photographers are held in high esteem, whilst sending us back photographs of the most appalling scenes of people blown apart. But had they done that whilst back at home walking down their local street, they'd be vilified. Or is it just because we think of people doing it with mobile phones as nasty little kids getting a sick thrill, but a war photog as a pro just doing his job?

Roger Hicks
08-13-2010, 00:44
Sorry it's something I feel strongly about, if pushing someone away from the scene in this instance made me liable to prosecution then so be it, I just could not live with myself and stand by and mutter about it with distaste after the event. It should be noted though I have never ever slapped or shoved anybody -- so my reaction isn't something I have a record of doing, nor hope I ever have to.

Of course I am hypocritical in what I consider right and wrong, I'm human, it's just the way I feel about this issue and I might as well be honest about it in my response.

Vicky

Dear Vicky,

Yet another interesting dichotomy of views. You've never pushed or hit anyone - but you think you would here.

At school, I had a reputation in some quarters as a 'hard man' whom it was best not to cross. This was easily gained. I was threatened with the 'bumps' on my birthday; 14th, I think. I told them not to do it. The didn't believe me. Four lads grabbed me: one to each hand, one to each foot. I pulled in my arms and legs, then punched and kicked out. Result: four boys lying whimpering on the ground, kicked/punched in the goolies.

When he could speak again, one of them said, "Why did you do that?"

I replied, "Because I told you I would."

I never had to hit anyone else again. The purpose of violence is to put the other person down, not to express your disapproval. Three of my dearest friends - Neil, John and Aditi - had the same reputation, for the same sort of reasons. None of us likes violence - I have never started a fight - but when you use it, against someone who is already assaulting you, then use it properly.

Cheers,

R.

pevelg
08-13-2010, 05:52
I don't know. Without being there I just can't say.

I did photograph my grandmother while she was dying. She was in the hospital, had had a stroke. I spent a fair amount of time there, holding her hand, talking to her, just sitting there with her. And also took some pictures. She was most certainly dying at the time and passed shortly after.

Photography is part of how I interact with and handle the world around me. It's very personal.

A nurse took offense, but taking those pictures was important for me. I don't know if that makes me a ghoul, tasteless, or maybe just selfish.

I don't know if I'll ever share those photos, even with family that's in them. They're difficult and painful to deal with. I rarely look at them. Thinking about them is hard.

I'm glad I have them.

This situation is different from the OP's, but is important to think about. My grandfather died a couple years ago and I was unable to visit him prior or after. He was dieing from pancreatic cancer, at home. My eldest brother, who lived close to my Grandfather in Alaska, took several photos of him as he was close to passing. The photos are blunt. They do not cast a light of calmness or peace. It shows the real situation, my grandfather in pain, withering (literally) away. Even with such harshness in the photos, I am glad he took them. I've only looked at the photo twice, but I will always keep it.

In a very sad way, I find the photo of the suicide victim that jumped from the 86(?) story building beautiful. She looks at peace. Let me be clear that I am very much against suicide. I work as a registered nurse in a behavioral health clinic (and in the past in an inpatient psychiatric unit) and frequently work with people who have attempted suicide or have major depression. Should that girl in OP's article been one of my patients, I would have feelings of anger at the photographer. But, in the general sense of the question, I do not think the taking of such a picture is wrong. Perhaps in OP's article it maybe (not enough evidence of either), but I do not think that there is a clear answer or set of rules to govern ones action in this regard. There is no black and white. Rather, I see the world different hues of grey. Some see the world in 8 bits of grey, some in 16 bits, some in 256 bits.

photogdave
08-13-2010, 07:49
So what would a professional do differently, and what would be the objective?
A professional wouldn't have taken a single shot at this particular scene at all because it's not newsworthy.

_mark__
08-13-2010, 08:02
Edit: Nevermind

soelin
08-13-2010, 08:17
Regarless of whether she was already getting help or not, I don't get why anyone would want to keep a picture of a dying stranger.

photogdave
08-13-2010, 08:39
Would it have been newsworthy if she were pushed down? Then what would the professional have done differently?

(I disagree with your proposition, the last century is full of "professional" photos just like this one that are purely voyeuristic with no "news" value, but let's just grant it anyway.)
I was referring to the pedestrian incident Mike photographed.
As to the suicide, had a professional been on the scene they would have stayed well away from the girl and let emergency services do their job. Their training and experience would likely lead them to make photos of the scene in the most respectful way possible, showing the emergency people doing their job, maybe getting crowd reactions, without going for blatant and gruesome shots of the poor girl's body.
Amateurs tend to go for the gruesome body shots because they think that's what the story is. Pros know better.

photogdave
08-13-2010, 09:18
Right, so was I.



Pros know their rote, pre-written story better. The crowd's reaction to the jumper isn't any more of a story than which sections of her skull are deformed. We all know how a crowd reacts, and have thousands of pictures of it already--unless there is something unique about this reaction...

I think this is a good example, with all due respect, of how "pros" in every field (mine included) manufacture their importance, particularly after a certain threshold or saturation has been reached.
Fine. The quality of new reporting has gone so far downhill already because people with attitudes like yours believe non-trained, non-payed amateurs can deliver the goods just as well as pros. I'd love to see what happens if every single professional news person walks off their job and hands the keys to the fifth estate over to the bumbling amateurs.
I'll be sitting in my recliner laughing my ass off! See you in the funny pages!

Jamie123
08-13-2010, 09:39
Of course it's distasteful to take photos of a dying person in such a way but is that really what's wrong with humanity? It's not like this is anything new. People have a reflex to point their cameras at anything memorable or unusual that happens. Be it sunsets, funny street signs or dead people on the pavement. It used to be mostly tourists who did that because they happened to have a camera with them but today everyone has a camera all the time.
Sure, it's bad taste but there are many things I worry more about than that.

Rune
08-13-2010, 09:48
Do we have the right to photograph an instant, just because it takes place in public? If a pantomime artist or street actor puts on a show on the street, he or she has made a choice to give a performance to the audience. However, the mentally unstable person jumping from a building is not giving a performance, but may be totally absorbed in his or her inner world.

Having worked in a psychiatric ward, I can assure you that sometimes people do things - in front of other people, pasients or staff - that they normally would not do. It may sound strange, but sometimes people say thank you afterwards for having forced them out of a situation where they for instance wanted to run completely naked down the hall...

Roger Hicks
08-13-2010, 10:04
Fine. The quality of new reporting has gone so far downhill already because people with attitudes like yours believe non-trained, non-payed amateurs can deliver the goods just as well as pros. I'd love to see what happens if every single professional news person walks off their job and hands the keys to the fifth estate over to the bumbling amateurs.
I'll be sitting in my recliner laughing my ass off! See you in the funny pages!

Untrained amateurs?

What sort of TRAINING (as distinct from education) have most journalists historically received, apart from on-the-job?

Journalism college is a recent and self-defeating invention. We ALL start(ed) out as amateurs.

Cheers,

R.

Rune
08-13-2010, 10:07
Photo journalism = photographer + editor.
Amateur photographer is usually on his own.

Roger Hicks
08-13-2010, 10:20
Some editors are geniuses.

Quite a few aren't.

It's a bit like "Those who can, do."

Cheers,

R.

Nikkor AIS
08-13-2010, 10:44
The last moments of someone's life are significant. I fail to see how taking a picture of these moments is any different than say the first moments when we come in the world. I've done both and many moments in between in my time as a photographer. It's kind of sad when the do-gooders of the world impose their own sense of morality on a photographer's choices. You don't like it? Fine. Then don't look. No one is forcing you.

This issue is not about professional and amateur photography. Photographers of all sorts have a history of photographing and showing the human condition. While sad and not something everyone wants to see, someone dying is part of that condition. I don't see the moral issue.

To the people attempting to dictate what is right and wrong for the rest of us, thanks but no thanks. I'll decide for myself.

photogdave
08-13-2010, 11:01
Untrained amateurs?

What sort of TRAINING (as distinct from education) have most journalists historically received, apart from on-the-job?

Journalism college is a recent and self-defeating invention. We ALL start(ed) out as amateurs.

Cheers,

R.
You said it yourself. On-the-job. It's useful.

photogdave
08-13-2010, 11:02
Unlike the intrepid professionals whose reporting is generally inaccurate, incomplete, or falsified. Not (usually) because of quaint things like political bias but because--shock of all shocks--they're of the same species as the amateurs. Some are competent, many others are ignorant, stupid, lazy, or venal.


Do you have any facts to back up these pronouncements?
I though not...:rolleyes:

crawdiddy
08-13-2010, 11:19
Bottom line: in a free society, we can photograph whatever we want in public. If we have poor taste, or poor skills, or lack a good editor, then so be it. We have the right to photograph in public. And keep in mind, that just because we snap a photo in a public place, that doesn't mean the photo will ever see the light of day, outside of the photographer's possession. If you walk up and tell me I should NOT have taken the photo, then that's your right also. But your opinion doesn't trump my right to make phptos. And for that matter, don't assume I will have the poor taste to pass it around to chaps at the pub. You have no idea what my intentions are.

photogdave
08-13-2010, 11:33
You and I have had this discussion before. Feel free to refer back to it for further detail. It's true that I might have a hard time backing up my particular pronouncement--that journalists are of the human species. You still haven't offered any precious facts to support the idea that "trained journalists" are magic. I won't be waiting for your reply, trust me. :)
Not magic. Just better qualified.
End of.

PKR
08-13-2010, 16:19
Bottom line: in a free society, we can photograph whatever we want in public. If we have poor taste, or poor skills, or lack a good editor, then so be it. We have the right to photograph in public. And keep in mind, that just because we snap a photo in a public place, that doesn't mean the photo will ever see the light of day, outside of the photographer's possession. If you walk up and tell me I should NOT have taken the photo, then that's your right also. But your opinion doesn't trump my right to make phptos. And for that matter, don't assume I will have the poor taste to pass it around to chaps at the pub. You have no idea what my intentions are.

Hi Dan; I try to be careful of what's in the finder these days..
http://blogs.photopreneur.com/5-of-the-fastest-ways-to-get-sued

Some are PSing the Coke logos out and replacing with others to avoid trouble. Many Corps. have floors of lawyers waiting for any kind of action.

hitmanh
08-14-2010, 09:15
Not in a million years would I do this, and if I saw someone doing it I would probably go out of my way to shove them away and out of the scene.

I'm sure someone will disagree but I've got my opinion, you've got yours, time to suck it up.

For me these people crossed a very defined boundary in my view of ethics and I struggle to find an explanation of what would cross into somebody's mind to think taking a photo of a dying person who committed suicide is a OK thing to do.

Vicky

Your welcome to your opinion, but assualting others because you don't agree with what they're doing is just as wrong.

As to the original question, I don't see any difference to taking pictures as to those that stand and watch. I'd either help or move along if I could not.

Juan Valdenebro
08-14-2010, 09:24
Every precise situation is different, and without having been there, it's hard to tell... The only reason I can imagine for documenting such scene after offering all possible help, would be being the only photographer there, and honestly considering such image would help the world more than hurt people. I don't know if I would be able to do it as I hate suffering and death too much...

Cheers,

Juan

Carterofmars
08-18-2010, 18:04
I've always believed that the moment a person is dying is a very personal, sacred moment that another person shouldn't even see. Unless, of course, they're family. Never ever view images or videos for amusement or curiosity. When the beheading videos from Iraq were circulating during the war, I never wanted to see them. I have a friend that watched the first one on line and said he didn't feel right for several days afterward. He told me he wished he had never watched the video.

Life is sacred. God help us if we don't realize that now.

JayGannon
09-02-2010, 09:58
That said, there's a huge difference between someone shooting for a living, someone who has to be there, and some looky-loo with a cell phone and a gore complex.

Journalists have MANY essential qualities bloggers don't have: education, experience, resources, editors to check your work...

This.

Unfortunatly the world is not a nice happy place like many would love it to be, its a hard unhappy place where people die and where there is rape, murder and torture going on everyday.

A journalist has the job of interpreting that world and bringing it to peoples attention in a compassionate way, and thats the difference between someone snapping a pic on their camera phone to show their friends and laugh about how they have a pic of a dead girl, and a journalist who will place the photo in context of a story or a moral or a informative article.

Its not the taking of the photo, its how it is used, and thats what sets a working photographer apart from someone making a macabre holiday snap. Big difference.

Unfortunatly everyone these days wants to be happy in their own world and not have the atrocities of the world brought to their attention, that is what is destroying photojournalism.

Jason Sprenger
09-02-2010, 11:04
The dimensions of what is sacred is not bounded by what is reasonable. Without reason, which sacred law will determine when reverence is required? Yours? Mine? All of them? One that most of us can agree with?

And with that choice made, what happens to those that "cross the line" and "harm" the sensibilities of others? Censure? Caning? Stoning? Re-education/Sensitivity Training?

Peter R
09-11-2010, 03:25
could it be that photography isn't so special but the last few moments of a persons life are? why not allow them their dignity

Exactly. I think there's some basic issues of respect and empathy involved here. Glad to see there's others who feel the same.

Vilk
09-11-2010, 07:40
after 40 years of watching humans, and almost 20 of browsing internet fora, i can't help thinking that most of the oh-i-would-never crowd would actually,

shoot
kick themselves for leaving the camera at home
kick themselves for not having the balls to shootwe are what we are, so? it's not the shooting that makes you a scumbag. it's not reaching out to help whenever you're not shooting. you won't become a saint, or even a morally upright respectable citizen, because of a once-in-a-blue-moon impulse--it takes a lifetime of hard work. shoot what you want. post what you want. but then go out and help. today. now

marcr1230
09-11-2010, 08:00
I see the issue as one of simple humanity.
If you could give comfort and don't (because you are busy taking a picture) - then you lose points on my humanity meter
If you take a picture, thinking "this is rear gory, my friends won't believe it, I'm gonna post it on the Internet", then again you lose points in my book.
If you take a photo, and it has some redeeming emotion or purpose, in this case perhaps to somehow deter or prevent suicides, then maybe you have a good reason.
if you're just a voyeur, and this is an entertaining scene for you, or has some paparazzi commercial value, again you go down on my humanity meter.

JayGannon
09-11-2010, 08:11
If you take a photo, and it has some redeeming emotion or purpose, in this case perhaps to somehow deter or prevent suicides, then maybe you have a good reason.

This is what you should be thinking if you stop to take the photo.

JayGannon
09-11-2010, 08:32
If you take a photo, and it has some redeeming emotion or purpose, in this case perhaps to somehow deter or prevent suicides, then maybe you have a good reason.

This is what you should be thinking if you stop to take the photo.

will-i_am
09-11-2010, 08:55
does anyone really think that a photograph of a person who has just killed themselves is actually going to deter another suicidal person from ending their own life.

antiquark
09-11-2010, 09:20
As for this being journalism: would any newspaper run suicide pictures these days? They did at one time, but not anymore.

JayGannon
09-11-2010, 11:58
As for this being journalism: would any newspaper run suicide pictures these days? They did at one time, but not anymore.

Newspapers? Nope, magazines, NGO's, local awareness groups, yes most definintly. Perhaps less stateside and the UK but definintly other parts of the world. German and French mag's and periodicals of various sorts are still willing to publish hard hitting stories as lng as they are presented in context and with a serious message behind them.

And yes when presentaed as part of a story raising awareness of suicide prevention the image may lead to greater knowledge of a suicide support group in the public mind, thus someone may go to that group when they are feeling suicidal and may not take their life.

back alley
09-11-2010, 12:06
i talked a guy off the bridge once...do i get humanity points?

i once helped an ambulance attendant at a car/motorcycle accident, it was very gory...do i get extra humanity points for that?

most days, i deal with drunks and junkies and over a long career have helped many to dry up or quit shooting up...lots of points?

can i take a few shots of street people now? or a dying young girl?

Vilk
09-11-2010, 12:09
i talked a guy off the bridge once...do i get humanity points?

i once helped an ambulance attendant at a car/motorcycle accident, it was very gory...do i get extra humanity points for that?

most days, i deal with drunks and junkies and over a long career have helped many to dry up or quit shooting up...lots of points?

i hear it only counts if you don't tell anybody... :angel:

back alley
09-11-2010, 12:10
guess i'm no saint...

Vilk
09-11-2010, 12:18
saint or not, don't quit what you're doing

hitmanh
09-11-2010, 12:27
does anyone really think that a photograph of a person who has just killed themselves is actually going to deter another suicidal person from ending their own life.

Absolutely not and I can tell you that from personal experience. Nothing sacred about death either...

rdrowe
09-11-2010, 13:26
Coming back to the original incident, the question is about giving comfort or coming to the aid of someone about to shuffle off this mortal coil (the manner of it is a secondary consideration), over against taking a photograph of the damage that has been done to a human being. I would suggest that someone taking a record shot for personal use on their mobile phone may not be acting in a quite the same way as some of the previous posters have described who clearly have done it as part of their work. <on soapbox> Personally, that was someones child there, and if it had been mine i would want the last people who saw her to acknowledge her humanity instead of treating her as an object to be recorded. </off soapbox>
Incidentally, thinking about some of the reflections from folk who have taken such photographs in the course of work, I did a piece of work drawing parallels between PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) in Military Personnel and in War (or Trauma) Photographers. A group in the USA did proper research on this [A study published in the “American Journal of Psychiatry 159:9” (September 2002) by Feinstein, Owen and Blair was entitled ‘’A Hazardous Profession: War, Journalists and Psychopathology”.] but that is the only piece of work dealing with the issue.
For those of you in that place, two things - firstly, it is your humanity and your professionalism that gives voice through your photography to the pain of others. Thus your humanity will be effected by what you see, precisely because you want to get it 'right'. Secondly, find someone you can voice some of your experience to - because no matter how self sufficient and self reliant you are in this sort of stuff no-one is an island.
Sorry if I've gone on too much, but sometimes we do neglect the personal cost of being there and in my work I deal with many who say 'it couldn't happen to me'.

Strangeluv
09-11-2010, 14:14
No. There are professionals who do that as their job. I'm not one of them. There are bystanders do that just because they can. I'm not one of them.

Correctamundo!

Brian Sweeney
09-11-2010, 14:25
My dad specialized in suicide prevention. When I was eleven, about 8pm at night, I answered the phone and it was for my Dad. Gave it to him, and found out later that the college student had the phone in one hand and a gun pointed at his head in the other. Good thing Dad knew what he was doing. Talked the Kid out of it, and went over to meet up with him.

Maybe if more people saw the aftermath of their actions, they would reconsider. But I would not be able to photograph the incident.

Richard G
09-11-2010, 15:07
Haven't read the whole thing. Agree with the coroner. Has anyone asked what might be the thought process in the head of the bystanders with their mobile phone cameras? Doubt it's anything lofty. Might be instinct, with the means so close to hand, but a base instinct. Dreadful things bring out the best and the worst in others. Is anyone really doubting which this is?

aizan
09-11-2010, 17:14
i would, assuming i wasn't the first person on the scene and an ambulance was on its way. the authorities, relatives, or newspaper may find photographic records helpful for one reason or another. it may not be tasteful, but it's the right thing to do.

Rayt
09-11-2010, 19:02
I don't shoot the homeless nor people dying in the streets. Anymore taboos?

Nikkor AIS
09-14-2010, 07:35
It seems to me that there is a perceived moral high ground achieved by not shooting certain subjects. To each his own. Perhaps it's my PJ background and the fact that I have photographed people who were dying and much other horrible **** that makes me think it's really a case of how it's done as much as what is done.

I know that for me, for some time now, the camera and lens raised up to my eye give me a sense of ... detachment.
And I gladly let my concerns for technical matters like composition, focus, exposure ...OO be in the forefront, so I don't become emotionally involved. I'm not saying this is right, I'm just saying this is how it's done. Or at least how I have done it.
None of that stops the inevitable weight of the event at a later date.

A traffic collision involving a small boy who died comes to mind. It didn't hit me until years later, watching my son sleeping in his bed. He is now the same size and age of the little boy whose limp white corpse was given CPR by the passenger in my car.

Even though it was several years ago, I literally dropped to my knees and wept. You can put up walls and delay the fallback all you want. As members of the human race, witnessing these kinds of things affects us and never leaves us. I'm not a stone. I feel deeply for the suffering of our fellow men/women and children.

It's one thing to see a picture of something, it's another to be there in person.

The other thing some people may not realize is when you're in the heat of the moment and the situation is happening in real time, you often don't know what you're shooting. You just do. And while it's easy to be all high and mighty, like a Monday quarterback, it's a different deal when you're in the pocket, so to speak.

chrismoret
10-17-2010, 02:48
It's repulsive to see when some people have a camera around there neck they all of a sudden think they are James Nachwey, and want to act in that way.
Being in Varanassi, India, at the burning ghats tourists are moving around between the burning remains of people, and take pictures of greeving relatives. I find it sickening to do that for a holiday-picture. It shows an alarming lack of empathy.
Tourists/non-prof photographers should know theire place, and not forget their humane duty just because they have a camera around there neck
Photograpers who do shoot these things for a proffessional reason , most of the time get sooner or later some sort of setback by there experiances.
See the docu "Shooting Robert King"

ebino
10-17-2010, 19:06
i was in a protest that turned violent. i was standing just behind the place where a crowd of protesters were facing off with riot police... there was not much happening where i was standing and the crowd was too thick in front of me to move in where the action was.

suddenly i see this young guy, probably 16-17, limping towards me carried by two other people. and then i noticed that his head was bleeding and his hair was wet with blood. he had turned completely pale and seemed in shock... instinctively i kept shooting, and i did not feel "anything". i was rather happy to have got the "opportunity". i kept taking shots and i was not the only one, even common people were taking his photo with their P&S cameras. then the news guys rushed in with their cameras and i found myself shooting from the top of him one handed because the place had got crowded... Suddenly i hear this guy saying, "look at these vultures, f'n vultures...", as he said that it struck me, i then realized what i was doing and i did not feel angry or anything at him, i knew that guy was right and I was a vulture at that instance.

I felt like ****. I always had a rather high-minded opinion of photography but right there I saw myself as just another vulture with a camera, preying on the pain and suffering of some kid. i wondered what if the kid was my brother or son... then...

Anyway, that was a good lesson. From that day on I knew what I did not want to photograph: war, violence and any other sensational PJ staples. I did have the stomach for it, rather disturbingly to my own shock, but I won't do it even if it means making a lot of money from it. for one I'm not naive enough to think photos of suffering can change the world, secondly I just feel no affinity and sense of camaraderie with PJs, with all do respect. Nachtwey takes photos of some war crime victims, posts it in a gallery where he gets patted on the back, people drink white wine and look at his photos and its all, "well-done" and "good job" - i find that absolutely obscene.

emraphoto
10-17-2010, 19:50
come now, you appear to have no understanding of Mr. Nachtwey's intentions. to indentify his, or others, work as 'Turning Leaf time' sans any real dialogue with the man is nothing more than projection.

i am fine with you wanting to define yourself as a noble and morally stout individual however i would caution you against the blind assumptions.

i will avoid all 'i remember when' stories and only say this, i have spent time in a war zone and i assure you the experience has made me determined to return.

photos of suffering and conflict HAVE changed the world. over and over and over again. i highly recommend Paul Watson's book on covering war to fully understand the disconnect between official reports and the reality on the ground in many conflicts.

JayGannon
10-18-2010, 00:14
I felt like ****. I always had a rather high-minded opinion of photography but right there I saw myself as just another vulture with a camera, preying on the pain and suffering of some kid. i wondered what if the kid was my brother or son... then...

Anyway, that was a good lesson. From that day on I knew what I did not want to photograph: war, violence and any other sensational PJ staples. I did have the stomach for it, rather disturbingly to my own shock, but I won't do it even if it means making a lot of money from it. for one I'm not naive enough to think photos of suffering can change the world, secondly I just feel no affinity and sense of camaraderie with PJs, with all do respect. Nachtwey takes photos of some war crime victims, posts it in a gallery where he gets patted on the back, people drink white wine and look at his photos and its all, "well-done" and "good job" - i find that absolutely obscene.

You do not understand photojournalism then. Its about telling a story to the world that the world would not give a crap about otherwise. Nachtweys work gets published in magazines and newspapers where people see the destruction and horror that war relly is, its not something that is seen from the nose cam of a cruise missile or on a graphic on CNN, its raw its horrible and its one of the most horrifiying experiences on the planet.

When people realise what its actually like, what the amftermath of war and famine is like, they are removed from their happy little surburban lifestyle and brought to the reality of life for millions of people around the world. And it (Hopefully) changes their attitude, maybe they will dontate to a charity maybe they will vote differently, maybe they will pressure their senator to change his voting habits. And slowly the attitude of a country changes, and war becomes less acceptable. And people are alive today because of photos that changed public perception.

Check out these links for photos, single photos captured in a single moment of time that changed the course of wars and countries. But photos that in some cases were so hard to take and took so much sacrifice from the photographer in order to come to terms with showing the world by being there, it was the end of their lives.

http://pinguy.infogami.com/blog/vwm6

http://www.uniquescoop.com/2009/09/photos-that-changed-world.html

http://brainz.org/10-war-photographs-changed-world-forever/

The world is a horrible place at times, and we live in a suburban heaven compared to most of the people on this planet. We need to be shown the reality of living in the rest of the world, so that we can appreciate what we have, and maybe gain some huminilty that is sadly lacking from our society these days.

chrismoret
10-18-2010, 02:15
Just to be on the safe side...

I'm a big admirer of the journalistic kind of photography. People like James Nachtwey and so have opened a lot of eyes with theire work and made beautifull work under the most dangerous conditions.

They all have my deepest sympathy and respect.

ebino
10-18-2010, 09:13
emraphoto & JayGannon:


Mr. Nachtwey has all the best intentions in the world. I admire his determination, even though what he does is the dream of many, so we can't say his unlucky. However, if it was not for the documentary War Photographer, he won't be as famous as his right now. It was that documentary, which turned him from a pretty good PJ to some sort of heroic figure with a camera. That says more about Hollywoodization of global culture than Mr. Nachtwey's true claim to fame.

But what a lot of people missed in that documentary was the irony and cynicism which came through. For example editors looking at Nachtwey's pictures and saying, "that pile of bodies are "fantastic", lets use it in double spread, thats "great"... Nachtwey chasing a mob who're playing with some dude before they kill him. Apparently he begs for the guy's life but nevertheless provides a witness to the frenzied mob, inevitably exciting them even more since they keep posing with the corps for him.

Anyway, video is a more credible and no nonsense method of documentation of suffering, atrocities and so on for wider information. videos through news channels and youtube gets the widest audience, without being hanged in galleries, dodged and burned for effect and sold at large sums... how could one sell the misery of others? that question is not for me to answer.

Classic photojournalism is dead long ago, I won't go into that argument here but I would say that even if not a single still PJ visit a situation there will be videos and still shots by cameras of local people informing the rest of the world... There is no need for PJs anymore, and whenever I see these dudes with their two large DSLRs and poker faces running around i see endangered species.

I'd rather be a neurotic Winogrand or Moriyama walking around streets and photographing boring stuff rather than go to some war and try to "inform" the rest of the world. Inform of them of what? of what is already on youtube and every other media source on the net?

JayGannon
10-18-2010, 09:51
emraphoto & JayGannon:


Mr. Nachtwey has all the best intentions in the world. I admire his determination, even though what he does is the dream of many, so we can't say his unlucky. However, if it was not for the documentary War Photographer, he won't be as famous as his right now. It was that documentary, which turned him from a pretty good PJ to some sort of heroic figure with a camera. That says more about Hollywoodization of global culture than Mr. Nachtwey's true claim to fame.

But what a lot of people missed in that documentary was the irony and cynicism which came through. For example editors looking at Nachtwey's pictures and saying, "that pile of bodies are "fantastic", lets use it in double spread, thats "great"... Nachtwey chasing a mob who're playing with some dude before they kill him. Apparently he begs for the guy's life but nevertheless provides a witness to the frenzied mob, inevitably exciting them even more since they keep posing with the corps for him.

Anyway, video is a more credible and no nonsense method of documentation of suffering, atrocities and so on for wider information. videos through news channels and youtube gets the widest audience, without being hanged in galleries, dodged and burned for effect and sold at large sums... how could one sell the misery of others? that question is not for me to answer.

Classic photojournalism is dead long ago, I won't go into that argument here but I would say that even if not a single still PJ visit a situation there will be videos and still shots by cameras of local people informing the rest of the world... There is no need for PJs anymore, and whenever I see these dudes with their two large DSLRs and poker faces running around i see endangered species.

I'd rather be a neurotic Winogrand or Moriyama walking around streets and photographing boring stuff rather than go to some war and try to "inform" the rest of the world. Inform of them of what? of what is already on youtube and every other media source on the net?


Jim was famous way before the documentary. Way way before it. There is now a middle class of the 1st world who think that they have all the answers, that they have the right to say what and what should not be documented and in what manner.

Come spend a weekend with me in Manilla or in Georgia and you would feel so different, it would jolt you out of the complacency that has led the planet to be so uncaring for their fellow humans. Begging for someones life to be spared is the epitome of empathy and he was very much risking his own skin by doing so, it was most certainly not done 'for the camera'

The 24 hour news cycle has created a generation where suffering is something that can be shooed away by changing the channel. Noone can comment on the atrocity of famine or the horror of war until they have seen it or the afttermath of it. And that is what photographers try to do, to allow people to experience that without having to be there, we travel to the places where noone else will go in order to bring the reality of the world to suburban america/england/france/germany.

One does not sell the misery of others, one attempts to tell the story of the world forgotten, the world that does ont fit into the life view of the general population of the world anymore, one where life is hard and terrible things happen. That is what photojouralists do, and will continue to do, for it is one of the most important things that can come out of conflict, a desire to not allow it to happen again. TO let the world know what is happening in the dark corners of the world where Fox/CNN can't tell a 24 hour news story, the story of the people of Haiti who have been forgotten by the world already, the Gulf where noone is reportting on it anymore. This is where the story must continue to be told by people better than the networks, by journalists who want to make things better. Who want to educate. To enlighten and to change the way things work. And rarely, they do, and it makes the whole dirty horrible thing worthwhile.

Peter R
10-18-2010, 16:38
I can see why the notion of a typical wine sipping 'creative society and their patrons' commercial gallery opening of photography documenting suffering is a hugely uncomfortable fit. But then again, in a PJ's case, the 'good job' being 'awarded' might not a sick voyeurism, but a recognition of the work done by the PJ to bring some uncomfortable truths to light.

There's a reason that governments hate unauthorized photos of their wars and repression, or why the Canadian government has made taking photos of baby seal killing illegal.

emraphoto
10-18-2010, 20:21
Jim was famous way before the documentary. Way way before it. There is now a middle class of the 1st world who think that they have all the answers, that they have the right to say what and what should not be documented and in what manner.

Come spend a weekend with me in Manilla or in Georgia and you would feel so different, it would jolt you out of the complacency that has led the planet to be so uncaring for their fellow humans. Begging for someones life to be spared is the epitome of empathy and he was very much risking his own skin by doing so, it was most certainly not done 'for the camera'

The 24 hour news cycle has created a generation where suffering is something that can be shooed away by changing the channel. Noone can comment on the atrocity of famine or the horror of war until they have seen it or the afttermath of it. And that is what photographers try to do, to allow people to experience that without having to be there, we travel to the places where noone else will go in order to bring the reality of the world to suburban america/england/france/germany.

One does not sell the misery of others, one attempts to tell the story of the world forgotten, the world that does ont fit into the life view of the general population of the world anymore, one where life is hard and terrible things happen. That is what photojouralists do, and will continue to do, for it is one of the most important things that can come out of conflict, a desire to not allow it to happen again. TO let the world know what is happening in the dark corners of the world where Fox/CNN can't tell a 24 hour news story, the story of the people of Haiti who have been forgotten by the world already, the Gulf where noone is reportting on it anymore. This is where the story must continue to be told by people better than the networks, by journalists who want to make things better. Who want to educate. To enlighten and to change the way things work. And rarely, they do, and it makes the whole dirty horrible thing worthwhile.

well said. might i also add that i sleep a hell of a lot better at night knowing i have given 150% trying. i reckon a lot of folks won't really understand the process without witnessing what goes on behind the "official briefings'. the incident between the UN/Pakistani forces in Mogadishu and a crowd of women and children would have been erased from history if it wasn't for 1 single photojournalist.

emraphoto
10-18-2010, 20:25
emraphoto & JayGannon:


Mr. Nachtwey has all the best intentions in the world. I admire his determination, even though what he does is the dream of many, so we can't say his unlucky. However, if it was not for the documentary War Photographer, he won't be as famous as his right now. It was that documentary, which turned him from a pretty good PJ to some sort of heroic figure with a camera. That says more about Hollywoodization of global culture than Mr. Nachtwey's true claim to fame.

But what a lot of people missed in that documentary was the irony and cynicism which came through. For example editors looking at Nachtwey's pictures and saying, "that pile of bodies are "fantastic", lets use it in double spread, thats "great"... Nachtwey chasing a mob who're playing with some dude before they kill him. Apparently he begs for the guy's life but nevertheless provides a witness to the frenzied mob, inevitably exciting them even more since they keep posing with the corps for him.

Anyway, video is a more credible and no nonsense method of documentation of suffering, atrocities and so on for wider information. videos through news channels and youtube gets the widest audience, without being hanged in galleries, dodged and burned for effect and sold at large sums... how could one sell the misery of others? that question is not for me to answer.

Classic photojournalism is dead long ago, I won't go into that argument here but I would say that even if not a single still PJ visit a situation there will be videos and still shots by cameras of local people informing the rest of the world... There is no need for PJs anymore, and whenever I see these dudes with their two large DSLRs and poker faces running around i see endangered species.

I'd rather be a neurotic Winogrand or Moriyama walking around streets and photographing boring stuff rather than go to some war and try to "inform" the rest of the world. Inform of them of what? of what is already on youtube and every other media source on the net?

that, i could not disagree with more.

i might also add that the term 'photojournalism' is very, very broad. when i see the dudes with the 2 dslr's, taped and labelled up with the respective outlet, i also see an endangered species.

ebino
10-19-2010, 06:12
Jim was famous way before the documentary. Way way before it. There is now a middle class of the 1st world who think that they have all the answers, that they have the right to say what and what should not be documented and in what manner.

Come spend a weekend with me in Manilla or in Georgia and you would feel so different, it would jolt you out of the complacency that has led the planet to be so uncaring for their fellow humans. Begging for someones life to be spared is the epitome of empathy and he was very much risking his own skin by doing so, it was most certainly not done 'for the camera'

The 24 hour news cycle has created a generation where suffering is something that can be shooed away by changing the channel. Noone can comment on the atrocity of famine or the horror of war until they have seen it or the afttermath of it. And that is what photographers try to do, to allow people to experience that without having to be there, we travel to the places where noone else will go in order to bring the reality of the world to suburban america/england/france/germany.

One does not sell the misery of others, one attempts to tell the story of the world forgotten, the world that does ont fit into the life view of the general population of the world anymore, one where life is hard and terrible things happen. That is what photojouralists do, and will continue to do, for it is one of the most important things that can come out of conflict, a desire to not allow it to happen again. TO let the world know what is happening in the dark corners of the world where Fox/CNN can't tell a 24 hour news story, the story of the people of Haiti who have been forgotten by the world already, the Gulf where noone is reportting on it anymore. This is where the story must continue to be told by people better than the networks, by journalists who want to make things better. Who want to educate. To enlighten and to change the way things work. And rarely, they do, and it makes the whole dirty horrible thing worthwhile.

I cringe at the very idea of hero worship. I respect Nachtwey, but not unquestioningly. His just a photographer and to be honest I can't think of any images by him which I would consider a masterpiece. On the other hand Don McCullin, now that guy is someone that I have the deepest respect for. Not only that his images are some of the most famous war images ever, but they're Art, with a capital A. HCB after looking at his work went to him and said, "Goya!". Don McCullin is the Goya of photography and that puts him on a different level. His beyond what I criticize about PJs, his an artist of the highest caliber, even though he hates to be labeled as such, and his images are extraordinary. But whats most extraordinary about Don McCullin is his humility and tortured soul. His more critical of himself and his images than anyone else, he seems to almost share the misery that he has photographed, his a man who's shaped by his work. His not slick like Nacthwey with his jeans and neatly parted hair, he looks tortured and he speaks as if his in mourning.

So, if Don McCullin was still active, I would give my own money to him to go and photograph the suffering of other people, and the same applies to Slagado, I would finance such photographers myself because i know their work is enriching to human legacy. Nachtwey with all do respect is a hero from a Hollywood movie. His tall, slim, handsome and stoic, young Client Eastwood with a camera.


To your invitation for me to spend some time in Philippians or Georgia, I would say, why those place? Why not Mexico? Why none of these heroic photographers are in mexico photographing the drug war and its impact on people? The answer is easy, too dangerous... I guess they could always "embed" with Mexican forces... And keep photographing, from safety, like Tyler Hicks of NY with his underexposed pictures of American soldiers in Afghanistan... You see where I'm going, so I think before you make such generalizations, please indulge in some soul searching... You could photograph the poor folks in Philippians or Georgia and satisfy the schadenfreude of "the creative class" in the west, but in the end you're peddling to the same people that you despise because the only people with interest in pictures of poor folks in the far off places are the rich people in the rich countries, mostly in the west. the poor themselves don't give a crap about photography and such. to them this is all a western boy's game.

JayGannon
10-19-2010, 06:24
I cringe at the very idea of hero worship. I respect Nachtwey, but not unquestioningly. His just a photographer and to be honest I can't think of any images by him which I would consider a masterpiece. On the other hand Don McCullin, now that guy is someone that I have the deepest respect for. Not only that his images are some of the most famous war images ever, but they're Art, with a capital A. HCB after looking at his work went to him and said, "Goya!". Don McCullin is the Goya of photography and that puts him on a different level. His beyond what I criticize about PJs, his an artist of the highest caliber, even though he hates to be labeled as such, and his images are extraordinary. But whats most extraordinary about Don McCullin is his humility and tortured soul. His more critical of himself and his images than anyone else, he seems to almost share the misery that he has photographed, his a man who's shaped by his work. His not slick like Nacthwey with his jeans and neatly parted hair, he looks tortured and he speaks as if his in mourning.

So, if Don McCullin was still active, I would give my own money to him to go and photograph the suffering of other people, and the same applies to Slagado, I would finance such photographers myself because i know their work is enriching to human legacy. Nachtwey with all do respect is a hero from a Hollywood movie. His tall, slim, handsome and stoic, young Client Eastwood with a camera.


To your invitation for me to spend some time in Philippians or Georgia, I would say, why those place? Why not Mexico? Why none of these heroic photographers are in mexico photographing the drug war and its impact on people? The answer is easy, too dangerous... I guess they could always "embed" with Mexican forces... And keep photographing, from safety, like Tyler Hicks of NY with his underexposed pictures of American soldiers in Afghanistan... You see where I'm going, so I think before you make such generalizations, please indulge in some soul searching... You could photograph the poor folks in Philippians or Georgia and satisfy the schadenfreude of "the creative class" in the west, but in the end you're peddling to the same people that you despise because the only people with interest in pictures of poor folks in the far off places are the rich people in the rich countries, mostly in the west. the poor themselves don't give a crap about photography and such. to them this is all a western boy's game.

Or it might be because I'm not American so Georgia is a war on my own continent? I've never embedded, I believe that its propoganda not journalism. As for being in danger, don't even try to lecture me.
And yes the people do care, it just shows your lack of expericec with the area, you are talking to me about something wich you have admitted you have no experience with as if your a seasoned verteran of journalism...

As for your continued attacks on Nachtwey, please do some research and look at the dates of his work. The majority of it was done before the movie, and the movie is a very small one at that. He has been published for many many years. But I guess your just goin to ignore what doesnt fit in with your life view.

I'll keep doing what I'm doing and you will continue to be ignorant of the rest of the world. See its not about the photos or the photographer its about the impact, its about the change they make.

ebino
10-19-2010, 06:35
Or it might be because I'm not American so Georgia is a war on my own continent? I've never embedded, I believe that its propoganda not journalism. As for being in danger, don't even try to lecture me.
And yes the people do care, it just shows your lack of expericec with the area, you are talking to me about something wich you have admitted you have no experience with as if your a seasoned verteran of journalism...

As for your continued attacks on Nachtwey, please do some research and look at the dates of his work. The majority of it was done before the movie, and the movie is a very small one at that. He has been published for many many years. But I guess your just goin to ignore what doesnt fit in with your life view.

I'll keep doing what I'm doing and you will continue to be ignorant of the rest of the world. See its not about the photos or the photographer its about the impact, its about the change they make.

I think for me to now tell you about my experiences would be sort of trying to get some rep from you, so I will refrain from that. But you have no idea who I'm what are my experiences, so don't be presumptive.


But yes, I have never photographed a war and I will not from my own free will... I will not go to poor countries and photograph poverty, i'd rather photograph rich people in the west in their own sort of unique misery.

So please keep at it and if you wish to look up to someone then I would suggest you up your game from Nachtwey to Don McCullin and other greats.

good luck.

emraphoto
10-19-2010, 06:56
I cringe at the very idea of hero worship. I respect Nachtwey, but not unquestioningly. His just a photographer and to be honest I can't think of any images by him which I would consider a masterpiece. On the other hand Don McCullin, now that guy is someone that I have the deepest respect for. Not only that his images are some of the most famous war images ever, but they're Art, with a capital A. HCB after looking at his work went to him and said, "Goya!". Don McCullin is the Goya of photography and that puts him on a different level. His beyond what I criticize about PJs, his an artist of the highest caliber, even though he hates to be labeled as such, and his images are extraordinary. But whats most extraordinary about Don McCullin is his humility and tortured soul. His more critical of himself and his images than anyone else, he seems to almost share the misery that he has photographed, his a man who's shaped by his work. His not slick like Nacthwey with his jeans and neatly parted hair, he looks tortured and he speaks as if his in mourning.

So, if Don McCullin was still active, I would give my own money to him to go and photograph the suffering of other people, and the same applies to Slagado, I would finance such photographers myself because i know their work is enriching to human legacy. Nachtwey with all do respect is a hero from a Hollywood movie. His tall, slim, handsome and stoic, young Client Eastwood with a camera.


To your invitation for me to spend some time in Philippians or Georgia, I would say, why those place? Why not Mexico? Why none of these heroic photographers are in mexico photographing the drug war and its impact on people? The answer is easy, too dangerous... I guess they could always "embed" with Mexican forces... And keep photographing, from safety, like Tyler Hicks of NY with his underexposed pictures of American soldiers in Afghanistan... You see where I'm going, so I think before you make such generalizations, please indulge in some soul searching... You could photograph the poor folks in Philippians or Georgia and satisfy the schadenfreude of "the creative class" in the west, but in the end you're peddling to the same people that you despise because the only people with interest in pictures of poor folks in the far off places are the rich people in the rich countries, mostly in the west. the poor themselves don't give a crap about photography and such. to them this is all a western boy's game.

you keep throwing your ideas and thoughts out like they are some sort of empirical evidence. there are photographers in Juarez right now. Eros Hoagland for one. there are others but i need to be out the door in a blink so you will have to do some googling yourself.

might i also add that you are presenting us with OPINIONS or personal LIKES versus any accurate assessment. have you been with the poor? have you travelled to any of these places? well i have and i assure you the people are VERY thankful that someone is there to experience their story and share it with others. that has been the consistent theme in Nigeria, Chad, The DRC, Mexico, Guatemala, Benin, Nicaragua etc.

there is no hero worship going on. no one has placed James on a pedestal but you. all i, and i suspect Jay, are saying is that your assessment is unfair and ignorant of facts.

by the way, your description of Don McCullins persona fits Nachtwey to a T.

And Eros is not embedded with the army or police in Juarez.

JayGannon
10-19-2010, 06:58
I think for me to now tell you about my experiences would be sort of trying to get some rep from you, so I will refrain from that. But you have no idea who I'm what are my experiences, so don't be presumptive.


But yes, I have never photographed a war and I will not from my own free will... I will not go to poor countries and photograph poverty, i'd rather photograph rich people in the west in their own sort of unique misery.

So please keep at it and if you wish to look up to someone then I would suggest you up your game from Nachtwey to Don McCullin and other greats.

good luck.

Ok but if you want me to take that attitude please dont make assumptions about photographers that your only experience of is a movie and anecdotal stories around their experiences.

As for who I 'look up to' I don't look up to any photographer, I have friends who's work I respect but I dont feel the need to have a role model in my work. As for upping my game, I've met both Jim and Mr McCullin and have great respect for both of them in their own way, both woked in different eras and have different bodies of work.
To claim that Nachtwey is some sort of war profiteer who isnt effected by the things he shoots and is impeccable and detached couldnt be further from the truth. Maybe if you met these people or made the effort to understand them you would realise this.

emraphoto
10-19-2010, 06:59
Or it might be because I'm not American so Georgia is a war on my own continent? I've never embedded, I believe that its propoganda not journalism. As for being in danger, don't even try to lecture me.
And yes the people do care, it just shows your lack of expericec with the area, you are talking to me about something wich you have admitted you have no experience with as if your a seasoned verteran of journalism...

As for your continued attacks on Nachtwey, please do some research and look at the dates of his work. The majority of it was done before the movie, and the movie is a very small one at that. He has been published for many many years. But I guess your just goin to ignore what doesnt fit in with your life view.

I'll keep doing what I'm doing and you will continue to be ignorant of the rest of the world. See its not about the photos or the photographer its about the impact, its about the change they make.

as in the case of James Nachtwey and his tireless effort to raise awareness of tuberculosis.

zumbido
10-19-2010, 07:22
Does anyone really know what change is effected by such pictures? It's taken as a given (and personally, I'm inclined to believe it). But I've never seen any evidence for it.

JayGannon
10-19-2010, 07:30
Does anyone really know what change is effected by such pictures? It's taken as a given (and personally, I'm inclined to believe it). But I've never seen any evidence for it.

Check out the stories behind some of these and their direct effects.
http://brainz.org/10-war-photographs-changed-world-forever/

Obviously they can only change things in context but photos have a history of being powerful tools on both sides of an argument/war/conflict/confrontation.

ebino
10-19-2010, 07:39
you keep throwing your ideas and thoughts out like they are some sort of empirical evidence. there are photographers in Juarez right now. Eros Hoagland for one. there are others but i need to be out the door in a blink so you will have to do some googling yourself.

might i also add that you are presenting us with OPINIONS or personal LIKES versus any accurate assessment. have you been with the poor? have you travelled to any of these places? well i have and i assure you the people are VERY thankful that someone is there to experience their story and share it with others. that has been the consistent theme in Nigeria, Chad, The DRC, Mexico, Guatemala, Benin, Nicaragua etc.

there is no hero worship going on. no one has placed James on a pedestal but you. all i, and i suspect Jay, are saying is that your assessment is unfair and ignorant of facts.

by the way, your description of Don McCullins persona fits Nachtwey to a T.

And Eros is not embedded with the army or police in Juarez.

What else could i speak of if not for my own opinions and ideas? What else could i photograph if not for my own preferences and fixations? What I say could sound anyway its perceived but its mine and i 'm not going to pretend that I'm objective. Anyone who pretend to be objective is either deceitful or painfully ignorant.

Having said that I would ask you, could you possibly photograph a naked boy in the west, without permission from his family and then hang it in a gallery and sell it? Or naked boys in third world countries are fair game? The same applies to all the taboo subjects that the west will not allow the photographer to get away with but the poverty of the poor in third world countries offers for free... I guess these sort of ethical and moral dilemma are too complicated by Disney-inspired-worldview of the right and wrong that some people seem to embrace.


Going back to Don McCullin, yes he has photographed naked famine victims and hang them in galleries, but his pictures are so tragic and powerful that those poor naked souls in his picture are forever transformed into immortal works of art... But then, McCullin calls taking the picture of a naked starved woman with a baby sucking on her empty breast as "a crime". There is the difference and between brutal honesty and art versus mere hypocrisy and pretension to virtue.

I respect photographers who're full of doubt, tortured about the morality and ethics of what they're doing. the first sign of a self-righteous photographer and i run away... once again i'm shamelessly blowing my own trumpet, by offering my own opinion.

ebino
10-19-2010, 07:40
Ok but if you want me to take that attitude please dont make assumptions about photographers that your only experience of is a movie and anecdotal stories around their experiences.

As for who I 'look up to' I don't look up to any photographer, I have friends who's work I respect but I dont feel the need to have a role model in my work. As for upping my game, I've met both Jim and Mr McCullin and have great respect for both of them in their own way, both woked in different eras and have different bodies of work.
To claim that Nachtwey is some sort of war profiteer who isnt effected by the things he shoots and is impeccable and detached couldnt be further from the truth. Maybe if you met these people or made the effort to understand them you would realise this.

I'm looking forward to you offering some of your pictures for us to see. And I'm sure your mission would be accomplished if you at least share with us some of the misery that you encounter and make us better. But your signature is empty.

zumbido
10-19-2010, 07:48
Check out the stories behind some of these and their direct effects.
http://brainz.org/10-war-photographs-changed-world-forever/

Obviously they can only change things in context but photos have a history of being powerful tools on both sides of an argument/war/conflict/confrontation.

That's the sort of thing I'm talking about, really. It claims that each of these changed the world, but doesn't offer any particular evidence for the claim.

I mean, it's a difficult thing to ask. It's easy to judge pop-culture influence or persistence, much harder to investigate how much people's actions were actually altered by an image. Because, of course, you don't have an alternate reality to compare against. So I wouldn't really expect anything conclusive, but it's an interesting question. You'd think at least one or two PhD students whose advisors are looking for grants for a new and different research area would have written about it. ;)

antiquark
10-19-2010, 08:03
That's the sort of thing I'm talking about, really. It claims that each of these changed the world, but doesn't offer any particular evidence for the claim.

Well, the Vietnam war photographs helped make the war extremely unpopular. In a democracy, a war has to be popular to keep going. The US left a few years after the pictures in that article were taken. I know, correlation is not causation...

zumbido
10-19-2010, 08:10
Well, the Vietnam war photographs helped make the war extremely unpopular. In a democracy, a war has to be popular to keep going. The US left a few years after the pictures in that article were taken. I know, correlation is not causation...

It'd be interesting to map opinions of the war--including polls, marches (significance rated by size and location, among other things), etc.--on a timeline alongside various events, including publication of photos like the classic Nguyen execution. It'd unavoidably succumb to at least some selection bias so it wouldn't conclusively demonstrate anything... but it would at least be interesting.

Nikon Bob
10-19-2010, 08:12
We know photos of war and atrocities have been around almost from the beginning of photography. We know wars and atrocities still abound. We don't know for sure if any of the photos of war and atrocities have moderated anything. Still no reason to stop trying to push that huge boulder up hill until a better method can be found. You have to do what you can.

Bob

emraphoto
10-19-2010, 08:47
That young 'naked boy' has polio. A disease that has supposedly been eradicated in out world (which apparently extends to as far as CNN cares to reach).

That particular photograph has served it's purpose in ways I couldn't have imagined whn I took it. I have not pocketed a single dime from it's multiple sales.

You are entitled to your assumptions and rhetoric and at this point I will leave you to it.

JayGannon
10-19-2010, 10:22
I'm looking forward to you offering some of your pictures for us to see. And I'm sure your mission would be accomplished if you at least share with us some of the misery that you encounter and make us better. But your signature is empty.

To be honest I have no interest in pandering to you, the people who know me know my work and thats all I care about. I have no interest in 'making you better' I have an interest in examining why you continue to be willfully ignorant of the facts presented to you. My private life is separate to my work life, and I intend to keep it that way.

JayGannon
10-19-2010, 10:23
That's the sort of thing I'm talking about, really. It claims that each of these changed the world, but doesn't offer any particular evidence for the claim.

I mean, it's a difficult thing to ask. It's easy to judge pop-culture influence or persistence, much harder to investigate how much people's actions were actually altered by an image. Because, of course, you don't have an alternate reality to compare against. So I wouldn't really expect anything conclusive, but it's an interesting question. You'd think at least one or two PhD students whose advisors are looking for grants for a new and different research area would have written about it. ;)

Good point, its hard to judge public perception though.

Dogman
10-20-2010, 10:03
When I was a newbie news photographer, I went to the scene of a motor vehicle accident. It was a rollover accident of a small convertible and the vehicle had caught fire. The driver had been trapped under the car and had burned to death. I photographed the scene and the aftermath of the fire department pulling the burnt body from the wreckage. Pretty gory stuff. That's what I thought news photographers were supposed to do and just let the editors decide to use or not use the photos.

Later that day, I learned the victim was the newly wed husband of someone I knew. I felt ill about the incident and my actions at the scene. When I went to the darkroom to print the photos, I did not print the ones of the body being recovered. I told no editor about these photos. Later I questioned whether or not anyone has the right or responsibility to intrude into such an intimate moment--the end of one's life--or inflict possible further pain on the family and friends of the deceased. Maybe I grew up a little bit that day as a human being as opposed to being a photographer because I never again jumped in and photographed a body and I avoided photographing grieving family members after the fact. While I photographed at the scene of numerous fatal accidents and homicides over the next couple of decades, I avoided death photos. Several times I intentionally f***ed up assignments involving family members and friends at funerals of loved ones. If it meant the loss of a good photo, so be it. Photos have a short self life in newspapers. Tomorrow, most people will have forgotten about the great photo of a fatality in yesterday's paper. Except for the family and friends of the victim. That image may be something they have to live with for the rest of their lives.

Historically and on a case by case basis, sometimes such photos may be necessary. For that reason I'm not going to judge the motives or morals of other photographers who photograph scenes of death and the personal misery caused by death. I won't.