There is a big controversy in photography over the job of a photographer in a crises situation. A series of common questions fill the debate: Should a photographer stop shooting and start helping? Where does a photographer draw the line in this situation? Do photographers have to be emotionally detached from the situation or society to be able to take photos in these circumstances? How can someone sleep at night after taking photos in a tragedy? It’s a mixture of accusations and misunderstandings. To help clear things up, here is an interview with photographer John Tlumacki, who recently captured the cover photo for both the Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated during the recent Boston Marathon bombing:
Obviously this is a tragic situation, but Tlumacki remained calm and went to work capturing photos for the world to see just what happened. While it may seem insensitive to take photos when people are injured and in need of help, Tlumacki makes a point when he says, “I think the world needs to see what tragedy has happened.” His point rings true. Imagine if nobody captured images of the bombing. Not only would the incident have not received the coverage and attention that it did, but information that was available would be confusing and frustrating for those who weren’t there.
Photographs let us know what’s going on in the world, and they make an emotional impact unlike any other medium because they give us a real-life visual of what has actually happened.
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