When Al Diaz saw a screaming woman run out from her SUV, he didn’t think twice: he pulled his car over, flashed his hazard lights, and ran toward the frightened woman. Her five-month-old nephew had stopped breathing. Others were calling 911, so Diaz began waving his arms, trying to find someone who knew CPR. Eventually, someone who was qualified showed up and began to help the infant, patting his back gently and performing mouth-to-mouth. Only after he ran to find a police officer, four were steadily on the scene, and the baby began to recover and breathe again, did Diaz, a photojournalist for the Miami Herald, grab his camera and shoot.
Listen to Diaz’s full story here:
“At some point, I start stepping back and let them do their thing, and the baby starts to breathe again. And I’m thinking, well, let me go ahead and grab my camera, you know? There’s plenty of help, there’s four officers.” –Al Diaz
Suddenly, the baby stopped breathing again. Since Diaz already had his camera and there was enough help, he felt comfortable shooting the scene.
After the February 20, 2014 incident, Diaz was presented with the NPPA Humanitarian Award for his choice to intervene during a time of crisis (via PetaPixel). It’s a tricky line to tread as a photojournalist, but Diaz makes morally strong decisions: he may have sacrificed some shots early on, but being a good person should always come first.
“There’s always debate of when to take pictures and when not to. For me, it’s always been clear: if I can help, I would do it. I knew I had to be a humanitarian before I was a photojournalist.” – Al Diaz