Shoot or don't shoot
Newspapers around the country that ran the picture of the four police officers carrying a shooting victim received both flack and praise for printing that particular photo. The editors of these newspapers were responsible for the way in which the picture ran. But what about the person who took the picture? Alan Kim was the one responsible for delivering the majority of the photograhs seen from the shootings, and he had many decisions to make on that horrifying day.
In an audio clip on Poynter.org, Kim was interviewed about his pictures. He basically said that there wasn't much time to think about whether to take pictures of what was happening or not. He just payed attention to what was happening and pressed the shutter button. He was saying that if something like this happens, you can worry later on about running a picture--that decision is usually left to the "higher ups."
I wonder how much a photographer, like Kim, worries about the ethical dillemas associated with pictures that come out of situations like the shootings at V. Tech.? Since it's possible with both film and digital photography to not develop or simply erase a picture, do photographers really consider ethics when taking horrifying pictures? Kim shot most of the images with a very large lens--he distanced himself from most of the action. Perhaps this was his way of being ethical--keep away from the people in uniform and everything will be OK. Is it fair for the people in the pictures to have been photographed from such a great distance? I think that some of the most compelling images come from photographers who are right up close in the action. I believe that this way, people know you're shooting them and it gives readers a since of what is really happening. Maybe if Kim would've been closer to the kid being carried across the field, it would've cleared up some of the confusion surrounding the picture.
Kim talks about taking pictures of somebody being arrested. The person being arrested was a photographer for the V. Tech student paper. Apparently, he had gotten a little too close to the action and the authorities didn't like it. I guess this further illustrates that sometimes we can't do what we're legally able to do. I would like to see what kind of shots the arrested student photographer got. I bet they're better than Alan Kim's.
Link to the audio and story...