Photojournalist unexpectedly documents domestic violence
While documenting the lives of a young Ohio couple for a project about, 'the stigma associated with being an ex-convict', freelance photojournalist Sara Naomi Lewkowicz found herself witnessing a heated argument among her subjects that escalated into violence. The harrowing and emotionally raw images that she captured follow a long tradition of documentary photography. Yet, she's also had to answer detractors who question whether she should have intervened.
Below we've shared a few of Lewkowicz's images documenting the conflict between Shane (the former convict) and Maggie, a couple whose late night argument escalated into a scene of domestic abuse. We've deliberately omitted images of the physical violence. To view the portfolio in its entirety, please visit Lewkowicz's web site. We've included Lewkowicz's own captions from the Time Lightbox blog to provide some context to the encounter.
In describing details of the event, Lewkowicz notes that once the situation turned physically violent, she confirmed that another witness had called the police before she continued shooting. In addition, she has been told by law enforcement officers that physically intervening, 'would have likely only made the situation worse, endangering me, and further endangering [the victim]'. It's also worth noting that Lewkowicz received approval to move forward with publishing these images from the victim herself, 'because she feels the photographs might be able to help someone else.'
The goal of documentary photography is to bring personal stories into public view, often with the aim of affecting societal change. What would have been your response in such a situation?
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