View Poll Results: as above

45. You may not vote on this poll
  • Photography above all. Whip out my camera and start snapping away

    5 11.11%
  • Help. Human lives is far more precious

    39 86.67%
  • Remain @ scene but do nothing

    0 0%
  • Leave the scene

    1 2.22%
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Thread: Humanity before Photography

  1. #21


    Shooting have to depend on the situation. If it allows the photographer to help, then I think out of humanitarian reason, the photographer should help. However, there are some circumstances which does not allow. For example gun shots flying all over the victim. It will be silly to go over and get killed yourself.

    Remember that by taking the picture, the photographer is also helping the people. His picture will be published and people will react to it by sending aids, or support to more people in needs. A photographer role can be quite sacred in this sense. ultimately, he is just a human and not GOD. It's not that he is injury proof.

    The photographer may also be subjected to a certain amount of risk shooting at critical moments. Remember that if he dies, all the picture will be wasted. Nobody will then be able to know and see the suffering of the situation. Nobody will be able to do anything to help because they will not be able to realise the situation.

    It's very hard to question humanity. As long as you stay true to your heart and do the thing that you feel is right at the moment, I think that should be ok.

  2. #22
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default lets turn the table around

    ....what if the PHOTOGRAPHER was in mortal danger or at risk..... will he then apply the same standards upon himself and stick to the job or help save himself ? ....he IS part of the environment by virtue of being there.
    Last edited by ed9119; 3rd December 2002 at 12:53 AM.
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close

  3. #23
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2002


    Agree with Excentrique.

    As a photojournalist the photojournalist has several issues to consider when faced with such an issue.

    In terms of helping versus continuing to shoot, then there are factors to bear in mind when deciding one way or the other. If the subject is in need of medical attention and the photographer is not medically trained, then really there is not a lot he can do (assuming he cannot alert medical services, etc). In which case there really is not reason to not shoot even though the subject may be bleeding to death. As Excentrique has pointed out, the photographer is there as a photographer to do his own part; to document the situation and to call attention to the plight of the subject(s) through his pictures. By not saving one malnourished child whom he directly probably could not have done anything for in the first place, his pictures might lead to a rise in public awareness and lead to a public outcry.

    Photographs have very strong parts to play in the bigger schemes of things. Some photographs change history - famous photographs everyone know, like the Vietnam war pictures, JFK's assasination, and yes, pictures of malnourished Africans.

    In terms of moral sensitivities and so on, the rule of thumb says shoot first, ask questions later. A good photojournalist doesn't ask himself, should I be taking the picture. He takes the picture first, but then asks himself the question at the editing stage. If he then feels, after careful consideration, that the picture should not be published, he can do away with it. Alternatively if he feels the picture can be published then he can go ahead and do so.

  4. #24


    This might not be related (I apologise if it isn't.)

    On my trip to the zoo on Sunday, I saw two photographers near an exhibit. One had a tripod and was trying to set up a macro shot on a spider and its web. It looked to me that he was not satisfied with the composition, and he proceeded to use a stick to rearrange part of the web. It may or may not take much effort for the spider to rebuild its web, but this is ethically questionable, not to mention being rather unkind of the photographer to go around destroying the home of a weaker creature.

    So much for a nature shot.
    Last edited by cyke; 3rd December 2002 at 11:21 AM.

  5. #25


    Originally posted by binbeto

    Such an old thread being dig out!!

    For a leopard stalking a deer.
    I think the NGC photographer know not to alert the deer as it is a normal cycle.. By saving the deer, the leopard would probably starve. But if it's a case of man being stalked by the leopard. I am sure the photographer would alert him.. and maybe help to chase the predator away.

    Our lives might not be more precious than that of an animals. What set us human apart is compassion, esp toward our own kind.. (War is another story all together)

    In summariy, I belive most people will save life 1st instead of shooting.
    have you heard of a buddha who cut off his limb to feed an eagle?

  6. #26
    Senior Member
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    Behind a lens


    Originally posted by ninelives

    have you heard of a buddha who cut off his limb to feed an eagle?
    Yap.. Heard of it.. But how many here would do that?

    Btw, I think he cut off part of his flesh to feed the eagle as he prevented the eagle from eating a chicken or rabbit.

  7. #27


    Yes i would support Kevin Carter, taking the photo of the severly malnourished child, brought the world's attention of improvished Sudan was. That photo was a shocker, and have haunted me ever since.

    Without Kevin's photo, more children in Sudan would have perished. The photo and the attention it had, helped brought aid to the country
    Many had argued, he could had the chance to help the child, rather than take that photo. He did what he was best at, taking photographs. He did help the child and others like the poor child.

    I had seen too many photos of starving children, and had gotten desensitised to them.
    That photo jolted me into perspective and had inspired me and others to join 24hr famine project.

    Putting yourself behind the camera brings you to a different perception position, one who sees the emotions in the scene, yet realises the higher intention of what you are there for.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2003


    i will choose to save the live instead of shooting.
    There is no point shooting a picture which causes many negative thoughts and not truely happy about the shot.

    I take picture because of interest and have fun about it, not being a cold hearted person.

    Would you rather save and both side is happy, or take picture and both side suffer??

    The choice is clear....... to me

  9. #29


    Do watch City of God. Think it has finished its run at Cineleisure.
    Good show about Slums in Rio, Brazil. One of main characters was an aspiring photographer. During the final shoot out scene, he was busy shooting(taking pictures) away, while everyone else were shooting(guns) at each other.

    I'll do what Kevin did in his situation.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2002


    I remember someone did post this discussion long time ago here, nevertheless it is still an interesting topic to talk about. Sometime ago there was a documentary show on TV about an uniformed social/animal welfare lady officer in the U.S. being attacked by a pitbull. The TV cameraman followed the officer to a house following up a complaint about the pitbull by the neighbors. Before the officer and the cameraman reached the front porch of the house, the maliscious house owner released her pitbull to let it charge at the officer right away. The camera kept on rolling steadily while the officer desperately cried for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry
    reminds me of the Prime Directive in Star Trek...
    1st General Order (Prime Directive) is as follows:
    "As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation."
    As far as I know, Prime Directive only applies to primitive alien lives and cultures. It doesn't apply to helping our own fellow human being in our own planet, does it?
    Last edited by rty; 5th September 2003 at 04:08 PM.

  11. #31
    Senior Member
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    Help first then shoot........

    In any case for Kevin Carter, it would appear from the photo that the child was so badly malnourished that she would not survive even she had reached the food distribution centre. In this case, Carter would rightly not have risked his life to "save" her from the vulture. She would have died anyway. In any case, his conscience was not strong enough and so he committed suicide.

    But if the child would have lived if he had intervened, then he should help the child. Even at the risk of getting infected with any of the communicable disease that the child was carying. He had access to good medical facilities back home and so would probably survive most diseases that he might have contracted. In any case, he could have thrown on a spare jacket or shirt to carry her to reduce the chance of contamination. But that is if she had a fair chance of living.......

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