Shoot a Picture or a Gun: Which is Worse?

We discussed how hard it is for a news photographer to not get involved in the situations they are shooting, no matter how hard. Reporters and photographers are to remain objective to every situation but some get involved because they believe it is the right thing to do. So what to do? Do you take the picture and go? Do you take the picture first and then help? or do you lose the picture and help first? Maybe war may be easier to stay out of the way but how about a starving child? Could you just photograph them and walk away? One picture I saw brought tears to my eyes.




Under this award winning picture, the caption said “A pained stare, plastic ties and muddy, shoeless feet. In war, everyone is suspect. After a short firefight in Sayyid Muhammad, these men were rounded up, stripped, interrogated and later released.” 

The look in this man’s eyes is directly to the camera. Now you can say this is staged. His face is clear and clean and he is looking at the camera, but what if it wasn’t?

What if he was looking at the photographer for help? In this moment, did the photographer know that these men would later be released? This man is looking to the photographer as his last hope, and he took a picture of him.

He isn’t a human anymore. He is a picture, a job, an award, a situation. This concept dehumanizes people.  One question our book says to ask is, “Am I acting with compassion and sensitivity?” I say no.


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