Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NYC Subway Photographer...

Last week a man was struck by a subway train and killed in New York city. The victim, Ki Suk Han of Queens, was pushed onto the tracks moments before the subway struck and killed him. According to eye witness reports there was very little time between when Han was pushed on to the tracks, and when the train arrived. Twenty two seconds is the estimated amount of time between the two events.

In the twenty-two seconds Han frantically struggled to escape no other witnesses attempted to help him. No one offered assistance. No one reach out their hand or coat for him to grab a hold and pull up. In this time of year when giving is better than receiving, no one bothered to give to Mr. Han. In fact, no one seemed to care at all. Except for one man, R. Umar Abbsi.

You see, Mr. Abbsi is a freelance photographer who works for the New York Post, and was in the subway that day waiting on the very train that took Mr. Han's life. According to Abbsi, out of the corner of his eye he saw Han fall onto the tracks and began racing toward him, all the while snapping pictures of the tragedy.

One of those pictures landed on the front page of the Post the follow day.

Post freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi captured the dramatic moments before Ki Suk Han was struck by a downtown Q train

Now I ask you. Is this Photojournalism at it's best? Or just wrong?

Clearly Mr. Abbasi was not charging toward the victim to help him. He's a photographer. His job is to get the shot. That's how he puts food on his table.

We have become a society that wants to see the unthinkable. We like train wrecks, bearded ladies, and dudes with three eyeballs. We like horror flicks; seeing someone saw off their own leg, and deep down we want to lift the sheet up and peak at what's underneath. So is he just giving us what we want? Is he just doing his job?

Was this guy merly running towards an accident to help and happened to take pictures, or was he taking pictures as he ran toward the accident in hopes of getting the ultimate shot?