On the most recent This Week in Photography show we tackled a topic that lately has been coming up more and more. Photographers covering a disasters like Haiti, Katrina, 9/11, the southern California fires, etc. have to ask themselves – when is it appropriate to put the camera down and help your fellow man?
Or, is documenting the situation, and helping with your skills behind the camera – documenting history, the correct course of action?
Of course there is no “correct” answer. Military photographers in active war zones have to deal with this question, sometimes on a daily basis. Imagine needing to make the choice between shooting with your D3, or your M16. Not getting the “shot” is probably always better than having to get a shot of morphine—or worse.
We “casual” photographers rarely have to deal with this choice. But when it does come—and you have to make the choice—what would YOU do?
Initially, I thought I’d write this post with suggested guidance on how to handle making the “shoot or help” choice, but instead I’m going to put YOU on the spot…
Here’s a hypothetical situation:
You’re on a photo walk, not really finding anything interesting to shoot. Your camera has an empty CF card, and a full battery. Suddenly you find yourself walking by a hospital. A car speeds up and hastily drops off a badly battered and bleeding passenger. No one else is around. The person is unconscious, and lying just 15 feet from the emergency room entrance.
This is a highly trafficked entrance, but you can’t be sure when a qualified medical person will find the person.
Oh, one last twist… you recognize the person as a prominent, and important political figure.
What would you do? Get the shot, or get help. Sound-off in the comment area below.