Photographer Under Fire for Capturing NY Subway Tragedy

A controversial news story is sweeping the photography world as well as mainstream news this week. On Monday, December 3, freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi, while on an unrelated assignment for the New York Post, captured some disturbing photos of a man trying to climb off the subway tracks as an oncoming train approaches. The next day, one of Abbasi’s photos appeared on the front cover of the New York Post with the following headline — “DOOMED: pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die.”

ny post train cover

NY Post Controversial Cover Photo

The New York Post has released a report on the tragedy, which can be viewed below:

The man struck by the subway train, 58-year-old husband and father Ki Suk Han, apparently had been trying to break up an altercation when a man pushed him away and he fell onto the tracks. Abbasi, who was hundreds of yards away, said that he witnessed the event from a distance, and began running towards the train and repeatedly setting off the flash on his camera in hopes of signaling the operator to stop. Abbasi explained that this is how he happened to capture the photos in question.

“As a photographer, the only thing I hand in my hand was my camera and my flash,” Abbasi said. “I started running towards the train with my arm stretched out and flashing so that the train driver would look at it.”

Abbasi’s full explanation and his perspective on what happened can be heard in the audio clip below:

Later, Abbasi appeared on the Today Show to clarify some of the confusion and answer some difficult questions. When asked if he would have done anything differently if  given the chance, he said,

“If this thing happened again with the same circumstances, whether I had a camera or not, and I was running towards it, there is no way I could have rescued Mr. Han.”

The full interview can be viewed here:

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