- Aug 15, 2012
- Real Name
I think that, not ever having been in such a situation myself (for which I am very thankful), I can in no way pass comment on the actions of other people in such a situation. I would like to think I would jump into the fray like a hero, but I might just as easily be frozen in fear and horror.
This reminds me of Kevin Carter (and the rest of the Bang Bang Club) who were active photojournalists during the conflict in South Africa during the 90's. It reminds me of Kevin Carter's image of the little girl dying of hunger stalked by a vulture on her way to a food distribution centre (you may want to google this image if you are not familiar with it), it's quite a powerful and moving image and ultimately won a Pulitzer. There was much controversy regarding this image as well, Was it a good image? - Yes, Did it help bring awareness to the problem? - Yes, Did Kevin Carter fulfil his job role a photojournalist? - Yes, Did Kevin Carter show one of the basic principles of being a human being? - No.
The major criticism he got from the photo was failing to aid the girl who was close to death and has instead profit from it, in their defense photojournalists have voiced out that "it is not their job description" and that "the press has to remain unbiased, detached and to keep at a distance to the subjects to remain neutral and keep their objectivity". This presents a series of questions such as, where does our job as a photographer end and our job as a human being start? How can we be a human being and a photographer without losing objectivity and remaining unbiased? Where do you draw the line?
I still take street photography, and it is indeed one of the genres I truly love, but I dont mind deleting the images I have captured if the subject asks me to do so, or asking permission, Helping someone out before / after taking my shot. Some street photographers (and indeed some of them quite famous) have no regard whether what their subjects feel after taking their shot, or just completely detaching themselves from the world through the image in the viewfinder, their mantra is "if it's in the public domain, then there's nothing you can do about it" Admitedly my images will never be as good as theirs, and that I will always be a human being first and a photographer second, but at least I know I will be always be able to live with myself and not stick a hose through my car's exhaust into my car's cabin like Kevin Carter.
P.S. Whether I agree with their philosophy or not, I do enjoy the images streetphotographers produce, but if there's anyone who I look up to as a streetphotographer it would Zack Arias, one should really watch him take street images, it is both educational and enlightening.