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CT&D #11. The Role of the Photographer

Does the photographer in the situation pictured below have an obligation to do something? What should the role of the photographer be in a difficult, violent, or life-threatening scenario?

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This may sound very, very strange and unorthodox but I feel that even if the situation depicted is rather hostile as clearly seen in this photo, I think that the photographer should still capture it without intervening for two reasons. First of all, one single photographer with a noble heart working alone cannot be enough to ensure the safety of the multiple people being attacked (even if this sounds harsh). Let’s not forget that the photographer him or herself is at risk of being attacked too.

Second and more importantly, events like this riot should be documented through visuals or in this case, photographic evidence. Without such evidence, the true reality of an event like this happening wouldn’t be quite enough to convey emotionally if words alone were to be used as the sole descriptor of such event unfolding the way it did. Even as future pupils at schools learn about historical revolts, photos must exist to illustrate behavior and action (the good and the bad) including tension and conflict as demonstrated in this example to provide further context and depth to a historical scene of events.

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