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Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by ChangshaNotes, Dec 5, 2012.
Photograph of Doomed Man on Subway Tracks Sparks Outrage, Debate
Hard to form an educated opinion based on just reports of what happened. The picture itself just strikes as cruel helplessness, it should show at least 2 or 3 people struggling to lift the guy off the track...
Horrific ! Using a flash to warn a train driver instead of thrwoing your kit on floor and rushing over to help the dude off the track ? WTF ? 'Unable to help him' - really, was the photographer devoid of both arms and legs ? Clearly not. At the very least the guy with the camera could shouted to the guy on the track "run dude, run !". I wouldn't have wasted my time trying to climb back up ( although at 6 foot four this would have been entirely possible ) - if was smaller like that guy I would have been like "crap there's a train, I'm going to run in the opposite direction in the hope of finding a recess or doorway to hide in"......
And the newspaper running the story and the resulting images.......unspeakable !
I would hope that if (God forbid) I were ever faced with that situation I wouldn't even consider taking that photograph. IMHO opinion you do whatever you can to stop that train AND pull that guy up. It might not work and it would probably be a risk to your own safety but I'm not sure how you would be able to look at yourself in the mirror if you don't. I know I wasn't there so I don't have any way to know what the details were but my gut reaction is that it is a picture that never should have been taken...made worse by the fact that the person that took it then sold it for publication.
God, that's horrible
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.
I think that is a very fair comment - it's almost impossible to know how we would react in such a situation (as oppossed to how we think/hope we might react) without being there. Things like this no doubt happen very fast and from reading books like Deep Survival and The Unthinkable it's clear that people react differently, but 'fear paralysis' is quite common. That said, given the claims about him using his camera and flash to attract attention the pictures look remarkably well composed...(although it could have been edited and cropped etc I guess)..
wow that was a very sad , I use the train two or three times a week, and my wife always scolds me to keep me out of the yellow line for my safety, thank god I've never been anything like it, but if I were in the place of the photographer, prefer to help the person.
It's a shame.
I feel a bit nervous to post my opinion.
I think the photograph gives an unfair view of the situation for the photographer. As a cropped frozen moment it looks like he might be able to help the man up but reality might be very different. You might instinctively know that from that distance that there's no way to get there in time. We don't have any sense of the speed of the train from that photo and it colours perception of the situation.
If that were me, I would like to think I would help if I felt close enough to get there but look at the angle, this would be running (quickly) towards a speeding, oncoming train. Running at a more perpendicular angle, while no safer would feel safer. I can't imagine if I saw this happening that I would think to photograph it, but I'm new to photography and don't have those instincts. The quality of the photo makes many doubt his story as just firing off the camera to use the flash to signal the train while running but good equipment perhaps makes this possible. The man is lit well by the train lights. AF of a pro-grade DSLR and the lens a pro photographer might have mounted ....
He's an easy target for everyone attack for the horror of this moment (sort of blame the messenger) but there seems to be no one else trying to get there to help either and if there was in a less cropped view that showed other bystanders trying to get there, it would probably make for a more dramatic picture for the paper to post.
The whole story re-enforces the the idea of not going out of your way to help people in a large city. A panhandler was bothering people. Mr. Ki Suk Han went to help out and wound up dead. I see this thinking in big cities in China all the time while in smaller cities people are quick to help out.
The photo. while not immediately graphic, is certainly powerful and it serves as an extremely effect way to remind everyone how dangerous a subway platform can be which is easily forgotten when using them in our daily lives.
The headline is unconscionable.
There so many factors we don't know.
Is that a slow moving train preparing to stop, or an express train by-passing that station?
Did the photographer actually know/believe that the situation would NOT end tragically or was he/she hoping for an accident to occur?
Was the photographer innocently already in the process of taking a typical subway train photo when the guy suddenly fell down the ramp, immediately turned around but couldn't get back up in time (got hit within a blink of an eye)?
In situations like these, some people freeze while some people spring into action by sheer instinct... that's whether they're holding a camera or not.
That's a hard one... if there's very little processing time involved.
However, the photographer and the publisher had plenty of time to decide whether or not to make money out of that photo. That's where the moral issue ceases to be in a grey area.
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.
Well said. While there us no way to know what any of us would do in such a situation I too prefer to be a human being first and a photographer second.
Well said Phoenix... I share the same sentiment.
Also totally agree, sometimes you have to touch the heart before the shutter.
BBC News Magazine has an article on this today:
Snap decision : When should photographers drop their cameras and help?
BBC News - New York Post cover: When should photographers drop their cameras?