Friday, December 31, 2004

Young Man in Wheelchair

Morality in Photography - This picture is an example of real-life situation where the problem of morality comes in. I will never be standing on a roof with the opportunity to either save someone or snap a picture before they drown. But I will be in little situations where I'll make a choice between the picture and doing the right thing.

He is playing with a cassette tape, I am surreptitiously snapping pictures with a 200mm zoom. When he drops the cassette, I am the only one who notices. Hundreds of people walk by oblivious during the 15 or so seconds in which he tries to pick it up. He is unable to grasp it. I help him. My cover is blown and the hope of a great shot gone. But I did what I had to do.

Sometimes I don't make the right choice. On Sunday I was taking pictures at a wedding. The bride and groom got together, I ran for my camera, and on the way passed a older friend who had recently been in the hospital. "I'll say hello later," I thought. I took the pictures, looked around for Petter, and he was gone.

Every photographer makes these split second decisions on a daily basis - how to act in that little, seemingly insignificant moment when right and wrong are suddenly black and white. In retrospect and later discussion, morality is irrelevant, for shades of gray can be added and rationalizations made. But in the moment there is a good choice and a bad one.


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