Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What would you rather have? The picture or the Kid?

Remember the Pulitzer winning picture of the dying baby girl crawling towards a UN camp and a plump vulture waiting for her to die?

I used to think he was x number of horrible things for not having helped the kid. But before writing this, decided to google him and well..

First off, he wasn't an unaffected, cold man who would use the girl and her situation and cut cause it was convenient to. He hated apartheid and was part of a group called the Bang Bang club that was committed to exposing the brutality of the practice. All the stuff I've read on the events of the day says that he was disturbed about the picture and was very depressed after he took it. Also, most websites say that that wasn't the only picture he took that day, that he was overwhelmed by all the death around him and walked away, chanced upon this girl, saw a vulture settle down nearby, waited for 20 minutes for the vulture to fly away, took a shot, shooed the vulture away and left.

In circumstances like those, how many dying kids could he be expected to help? And how can people say with certainty that he was a cold, heartless man?
Visit- http://www.thisisyesterday.com/ints/KCarter.html for the whole story, and http://blogs.spokenword.ac.uk/mediaethics/2008/11/14/30/ for not so well informed people debating about whether his actions could've been justified as properly utilitarian or are inexcusable from a "basic human virtue" point of view.

Their arguments, in my opinion, are slightly irrelevant given the facts of this particular incident.

But in life in general- I think its an important debate- the 'classic dilemma' a journalist would face- the picture or the kid? Save the drowning people or report the incident so I can retain my job and expose the government?

Its true that images are more powerful than words, its true that photojournalists have got mouths to feed and that they can't go around saving every person they're taking pictures of and therefore its okay for them to click ten powerful pictures rather than take one and save a life.

But is it okay for them to shove kids in the line of fire to get a good picture, even if it does generate a lot of public outrage that might then stop the conflict thats killing people? I think not.

If thats the logic, some people need to get their priorities right.

I remember watching a video of a chap burning himself because Sonia G refused PMship and wondering why the hell the chap taking the video couldn't just pour a gallon of water over his head.
I get it now. Its his job, its important.

But what about the people standing around? They weren't creating awareness by standing around and watching. They were saving themselves a little inconvenience and a little time, thats all. But the degree of passivity Indians display in situations like this is another subject altogether.

More aware than ever, of the need to know the whole story afore judging,


Shreya said...

He also committed suicide three months later because of depression. Sigh.

Aqseer said...

i know
i think i mentioned that, tho im not sure
the thing is ppl say it was cause of the guilt blah blah
but htere was other stuff
he was always insecure about his photography, and he had a lot of trouble financially
his suicide note said he was killing himself cause he had too many bills to pay, no money etc and that he was too disturbed by the stuff he'd seen

Jade said...
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