Help in a tragedy or take photos?

Started Apr 20, 2012 | Discussions
gail
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Help in a tragedy or take photos?
Apr 20, 2012

I am not a pro and rarely even take a peek in this forum. However ever since reading the blub at dpreview, and at other sites, about the 2012 Pulitzer Prize photography winners, the following has haunted me. Does one take photographs or help (and possibly save a life)?

One of the winners was quoted as saying:

Women were asking me, "Help, help, help,"' Mr. Hossaini said. 'I couldn't. I was recording and I was taking pictures.'

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2131084/Pulitzer-Prize-winners-2012-Picture-screaming-girl-standing-amid-Afghan-suicide-attack-carnage.html#ixzz1sZxyAM1S

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FoolyCooly
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Graphic Link
In reply to gail, Apr 20, 2012

As a father, it's going to take me all day to unsee that image.

Regarding the photographer, I think he served a greater good by continuing to do his job. Photos like these move people and force politicians to take action. If he did not deliver those images to publication than we would never know exactly how horrific the event was.

Also, not every one is trained in first aid, CPR and etc. He could have done more harm than good. When things like this happen people do some pretty silly things that end up hurting the people they are helping. My brother in-law is a police officer so he gets to witness some of this first hand.

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dad_of_four
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to gail, Apr 20, 2012

There's an old question that goes something like this:

If you have your camera, and you are witnessing someone attempting to commit suicide by fire, and their matches keep going out...

What f/stop would you shoot with?

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gail
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Excellent points (NT)
In reply to FoolyCooly, Apr 20, 2012
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gail
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to dad_of_four, Apr 20, 2012

dad_of_four wrote:

There's an old question that goes something like this:

If you have your camera, and you are witnessing someone attempting to commit suicide by fire, and their matches keep going out...

What f/stop would you shoot with?

Sick!

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dad_of_four
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to gail, Apr 20, 2012

gail wrote:

Sick!

Call it what you will, but it is something any photographer needs to think about anytime they head-out. What will you do, what will you do?

I had a buddy that was a stringer for a local news outfit. His boss threatened to fire anyone who did not get the shot. He thought it over, and decided he would always put the camera down and stop the suicide in progress.

So Gail, what would you have done in your original posting?

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lbuclk=
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Some times you can and other times you cannot
In reply to gail, Apr 20, 2012

gail wrote:

I am not a pro and rarely even take a peek in this forum. However ever since reading the blub at dpreview, and at other sites, about the 2012 Pulitzer Prize photography winners, the following has haunted me. Does one take photographs or help (and possibly save a life)?

One of the winners was quoted as saying:

Women were asking me, "Help, help, help,"' Mr. Hossaini said. 'I couldn't. I was recording and I was taking pictures.'

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2131084/Pulitzer-Prize-winners-2012-Picture-screaming-girl-standing-amid-Afghan-suicide-attack-carnage.html#ixzz1sZxyAM1S

I have covered a lot of tragedies over the years , I shot what needed to be shot & assisted when possible. I shot this in the 80's & put the camera down to help carry out some of the victims on stretchers, but the story has to be told, photoraphs can instantly describe what words cannot, remember people used sit if front of their radios (and still do) to listen to the news. someone has to show what happened, its never easy.

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gail
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to dad_of_four, Apr 20, 2012

dad_of_four wrote:

gail wrote:

Sick!

Call it what you will, but it is something any photographer needs to think about anytime they head-out. What will you do, what will you do?

I know that. But for the example given, imho, there should be no question.

I had a buddy that was a stringer for a local news outfit. His boss threatened to fire anyone who did not get the shot. He thought it over, and decided he would always put the camera down and stop the suicide in progress.

Good for him.

So Gail, what would you have done in your original posting?

I understand that it's a tough decision for a professional photojournalist.

I am not a pro and do not get paid for my photographs. Admittedly though, as a photo enthusiast, I "see" a good part of my world as if looking through a viewfinder (or LCD), especially when I was younger.

Depending on the situation, I might take a few quick shots and then help where I could, keeping in mind as FoolyCooly pointed out that I am one that is not trained in first aid, CPR, etc.

But I could not, as the article seems to indicate, fail to stop taking pictures when others were begging me for help: "Help, help, help,"

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gail
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Re: Some times you can and other times you cannot
In reply to lbuclk=, Apr 20, 2012

lbuclk= wrote:

I have covered a lot of tragedies over the years , I shot what needed to be shot & assisted when possible. I shot this in the 80's & put the camera down to help carry out some of the victims on stretchers, but the story has to be told, photoraphs can instantly describe what words cannot, remember people used sit if front of their radios (and still do) to listen to the news. someone has to show what happened, its never easy.

I think this is the "proper" view.

Your photo, like many others, are important in telling the story.
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Dan Marchant
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In reply to FoolyCooly, Apr 21, 2012

FoolyCooly wrote:

Regarding the photographer, I think he served a greater good by continuing to do his job. Photos like these move people and force politicians to take action. If he did not deliver those images to publication than we would never know exactly how horrific the event was.

+1. I think the Vietnam war was the first case where photographers really brought home to people what was really happening, and it had a huge impact on the public. A single image like the one of Phan Thị Kim Phúc http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phan_Thi_Kim_Phuc is certainly worth a lot more than a thousand words.

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epsilon sigma taph
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to gail, Apr 21, 2012

Help or you're not human.

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FetishLens
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to gail, Apr 22, 2012

That photographer is a sack of sh!t.

How many bled to death because he had to "tell their story" instead of help with their wounds?

Disgusting.

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dad_of_four
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to FetishLens, Apr 22, 2012

FetishLens wrote:

How many bled to death because he had to "tell their story" instead of help with their wounds?

Just to take a contrarian point of view...
We don't know how many bled to death, or how many were already dead
We don't know how many bystanders were out-of-frame, and immediately jumped in

We also don't know how many people will be so moved by this image that positive steps will be taken to end the bloodshed.

Where do we draw the line?

It is estimated that 24000 people die every day of hunger or hunger related causes.

Yet you are busy taking photos of naked women. Can I call you a piece of crap for not putting down your camera to help? p.s. I am purposefully trying to be provocative, almost trolling for a bite

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Pacerr
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to FetishLens, Apr 22, 2012

I occasionally make a presentation to mature youth groups that addresses this issue. It involves rational management of resources versus emotional impulsiveness – triage if you will.

Along with teaching effective use of communications resources we discuss priorities and “one’s realistic sphere of influence”. Imagine you’ve just come upon a serious automobile accident with apparent injuries and the potential for fire and further risk to others coming on the scene. The emotional response may be to leap headlong into the carnage with what limited resources and training you have at hand. A more useful response would be to:

1 – Communicate! Call for trained emergency response help as quickly and effectively as possible.

2 – Prevent further harm or risk to others.

3 – Assist in a deliberate and effective manner so as not to become an additional “victim” requiring help yourself.

Every individual and each situation has a dynamic all its own. The MOST effective response will not come from an emotional reaction but from an educated assessment of the realistic influence one can have in that specific moment.

The few moments required to “communicate” the urgency (and tragedy?) of the situation, whether by cell phone or photograph – in that instant or for the future – is an important resource in marshalling assistance within its own frame of reference.

The few moments it takes to give some priority to recording and communicating such a scene has a purpose unto itself no matter how callous it may seem to the inexperienced observer and serves to initiate effective immediate aid and future corrective actions.

I would note that people familiar with the suicide bombing scenario well know that a second bomb aimed at emergency responders is a common threat best dealt with by a well considered action rather than emotional reaction.

One's personal and ethical MOTIVES for capturing the scene photographically and disposition of the images are another matter entirely.

H2

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Hansa Yindee
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to Pacerr, Apr 22, 2012

.
Paceer wrote...

1+ , ... "I would note that people familiar with the suicide bombing scenario well know that a second bomb aimed at emergency responders is a common threat best dealt with by a well considered action rather than emotional reaction".
.
After Nick Ut shot quick footage he put down his camera and assisted
Phan Thai Kim Phuc and other children with napalm burns to a hospital.

This photo feels like history repeating itself. During Viet Nam we saw this
all the time. Countrymen killing their own women, children and old men
for propaganda purposes.

If you are in an area that has had explosive ordnance go off you are either
dead, in shock, savagely dazed, incoherent or Deaf cuz you've just had your
Bell Rung Big Time ! Rational thought process for the untrained can be very
elusive at this very moment.
.
--
Jon in Thailand

http://www.flickr.com/photos/af2899/
.

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bikinchris
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to gail, Apr 25, 2012

Sometimes, reporting the story IS the best thing he can do to help. Not always, but sometimes.

gail wrote:

I am not a pro and rarely even take a peek in this forum. However ever since reading the blub at dpreview, and at other sites, about the 2012 Pulitzer Prize photography winners, the following has haunted me. Does one take photographs or help (and possibly save a life)?

One of the winners was quoted as saying:

Women were asking me, "Help, help, help,"' Mr. Hossaini said. 'I couldn't. I was recording and I was taking pictures.'

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2131084/Pulitzer-Prize-winners-2012-Picture-screaming-girl-standing-amid-Afghan-suicide-attack-carnage.html#ixzz1sZxyAM1S

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Good cyclists are:
Visible, Predictable, Alert, Assertive and Courteous

They also use the five layers of protection available.
Layer 1: Control your bike (Don't fall or collide with others)
Layer 2: Follow the rules (Don't be the cause of traffic crashes)
Layer 3: Use Lane position (Discourage other drivers mistakes)
Layer 4: Hazard Avoidance (Avoid other drivers mistakes and road hazards)
Layer 5: Utilize passive protection (Use protection when all else fails)

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gail
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to bikinchris, Apr 25, 2012

bikinchris wrote:

Sometimes, reporting the story IS the best thing he can do to help. Not always, but sometimes.

We, perhaps, have different definitions of "help" but I do understand what you mean.

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quallsphoto
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Some images are "unphotographable.com"
In reply to gail, Apr 26, 2012

Take a look at the following website: http://www.unphotographable.com/why.html

The website unphotographable.com has dozens of brief descriptions by photographers of the shot that got away, either by choice or by circumstances.

The site does not address your question, but some of the scenes make me ponder what I would have done in that situation.

http://www.quallsphotography.com

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69chevy
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to gail, Apr 26, 2012

A photojournalist who goes in harms way, is doing so, to capture the grim reality of the situation. He literally risked his life so he could take those pictures.

To criticize this man for capturing these images, vice helping the victims, is a right you have. Then again, so is going into harms way.

Discussing what "we" would have done is merely a discussion, as I assure you, we have no idea what we would have done.

This is just my opinion of course. Judging the photographers character without being in his situation, is your choice, but your judgement is irrelevant.

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yvind Strm
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Re: Help in a tragedy or take photos?
In reply to gail, Apr 26, 2012

I presume you talk about a Professional Photographer, since you refer to the Pullitzer price. This is important.

If you are a Photographer by profession, sent to a place to capture a humanitarian catastrophe, I think the answer is easy. You take the shot. If not, you are not professional, and better stay home. Or go there solely to help.
The name Kevin Carter might ring a bell to someone.

In 1994 he won the pulitzer price for a picture of a undernourished Sudanese girl, with a Vulture close by. The vulture might not at all been interested in the girl, but it was captured as if it were.

The critique was massive. Why did he not help? How could he push the button, instead of saving the girls life?
Firstly, the picture does not tell the complete story.

Second, the picture made people in the West aware of a catastrophe, and helped raise a lot of money, which in turn helped a lot more people.
Of course, the dilemma will be there, and might be difficult to handle.
Carter commited suicide shortly after.
See wikipedia for a bit of the true story.

But if you are hobby photographer, the situation might be different. YOU do not HAVE to tell the story. A car accident does not HAVE to appear in the papers.

I do not know why, but I have been first on scene in a few traffic accidents, a gas explosion and a Palestinian soldier who had been shot in his shoulder. I left my camera in the car in all situations, because I was not assigned by a newspaper: So I helped as much I could. I could not save the victim of the gas explosion, and that haunted me for a long time.

But if I was with the UN to cover a catastrophe or an event with real importance, or I happened to be on the spot, I would have taken the shot. And then I MIGHT have helped, depending on the situation.

gail wrote:

I am not a pro and rarely even take a peek in this forum. However ever since reading the blub at dpreview, and at other sites, about the 2012 Pulitzer Prize photography winners, the following has haunted me. Does one take photographs or help (and possibly save a life)?

One of the winners was quoted as saying:

Women were asking me, "Help, help, help,"' Mr. Hossaini said. 'I couldn't. I was recording and I was taking pictures.'

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2131084/Pulitzer-Prize-winners-2012-Picture-screaming-girl-standing-amid-Afghan-suicide-attack-carnage.html#ixzz1sZxyAM1S

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