With the digital age, there’s a camera installed on almost every device. Pens, ties, phones, you name it. Photos tell a story and there are a lot of stories out there to be told. There are also a lot of would-be-story tellers out there who have dreams of being the next Pulitzer prize winner. Because of this, people are apt to take a photo rather than assist someone in need. This was evident again this week when a freelance photographer took out his camera and took a photo of a man who was pushed off the subway platform and into the path of an oncoming train. The photo showed the hapless man struggling to climb back unto the platform mere seconds before the train got him.
Now the million dollar question is, ‘Could he have helped or at least offered help?’ Apparently, the victim was struggling to pull himself up but it was too little too late. In his defense, Umar Abbasi claimed that he shot the picture in the hope that the flash would have alerted the driver of the impending danger. Sounds kind of farfetched but that’s my opinion. Maybe he was giving in to his instincts as a freelance photographer to shoot first then ask questions after. Again, my opinion.
This not the first time a camera-happy photographer has ignored the plight of a victim to get his glory shot. I once saw an award-winning photo of a starving child in Sudan crawling to reach a feeding center while a vulture hovered close. He apparently owned up to taking the picture then leaving as ‘that what he was trained to do.’ How cold is that? The photographer, Kevin Carter, committed suicide some years later at the age of 33. His suicide note read: “I am depressed … without phone … money for rent … money for child support … money for debts … money!!! … I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners … I have gone to join Ken [recently deceased colleague] if I am that lucky.”
We can’t stop at just blaming the photographers. As a society, we too have the moral responsibility to come to the aid of our fellowmen. After all, what award can be greater than the personal satisfaction we would feel for potentially saving someone’s life? Don’t listen to the saying ‘Take a photo, it lasts longer.’ The feeling of being a hero lasts way longer. A photo is worth a thousand words but…it’s only words.
Just my take.
- New York Post Publishes Photo of a Man Seconds Before Death – Would You? (nicolekraftosu.wordpress.com)
- WATCH: NY Post Photographer Defends Taking Horrifying Picture (huffingtonpost.com)
- Would You Have Taken the Post Subway Photo?: Pulitzer-Winning Photographers Respond (gawker.com)
- NBC TODAY Show – Photographer: ‘No Way’ I Could Have Saved Subway Victim (hulu.com)