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Amateur Vs Press photographer

johnL Plus
14 115
2 Sep 2003 9:02PM
On a different tact, how do people feel about press photographers? I was out today with a pro woman who was dissappointed that she didnt catch a picture of the (grown up)children of a dead guy crying, as it would have made a story. Is this just part of the nature of our society? Is she actually just recording life or does this become insulting and intrusive? As I want to get into press work I found this a bit offputting, but am I just being squeamish?

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4 Sep 2003 7:43PM
John: A quiet shy rserved nature is a serious disadvantage for press photographers or photojournalists. I have never been a press photographer but having been a photojournalist and rubbed shoulders on many accasions with the press men. I conclude.

There is a place for all types of characters in that field no matter what colour, class, creed, social denomination or even education. Each will have his or her own ideas about handling delicate situation.

Although it is handy to read and write well! I consider the best attribute is to get on with your fellows, If you can do that, all comes easy and you will never consider your calling - work, but a joy.
Good fortune. Stan. L-B
darla Plus
14 341
4 Sep 2003 10:26PM
Andy, several comments to make firstly must say that i only read pretty much half way down cos someone annoyed me... with the christ sake comment!! From the view of the emergency services (work with the ambulance service) scenes of accidents are very emotional and onlookers etc can make people nervous and distressed even the pros! I know that whenever we deal with larger incidents people interfering generally really P*** me off but then again a harmless onlooker really wouldnt even grab my attention let alone be worthy of approaching as I have a lot more important things to think about. The fireman really shouldnt have approached you I dont think, perhaps it really was an ego thing as you said "look at me I wear a big important uniform and i can tell you what to do little normal person" As long as you wer out of the way I would say you were doing no harm at all and as you say you were respecting the vistims by not photographing them.
Secondly I know of a lot of people locally who have sold photographs to local and in fact national papers of incidents. They have simply contacted the papers and told them they have photographed the incident and would they like to run a story including their photograps for a fee?! From what I can tell from them it was farely straight forward.
johnL Plus
14 115
4 Sep 2003 11:18PM
Thanks Stan, I think I was a little tired and emotional when I made that last posting. Things have gone really well since my placement at the paper, and I can see myself handling most situations. I was maybe shy when I was younger, but now I'd say I was more...considered! Thanks for the words of encouragement, as in this type of work confidence is of paramount importance, so every bit counts!

John L
6 Sep 2003 9:40PM
Just to let you know that I am a firefighter, and a critical care paramedic. I happen to be a photographer also. One thing I would like to add to this discussion is from both sides.

First of all I am one of the only females on my fire department and one of three females that works as a street medic in my town. I would like to admit openly that I have an attitude! Sorry, but if I am called to a scene with multiple injuries and I am trying to cut someone out of a car, do chest compressions on a dead man or take a little old lady to the hospital, I don't want some nosey busy body standing in front of me taking a picture. It is non of anyones business except for the patient and those of us sweating over them to rescue them or to try to save their life. Think about it, would you HONESTLY want a total stranger coming to a scene of your family and take pictures of them when they are mangled and possibly going to die if they hadn't already? Would you like to think that I took pictures of your injured mom/dad/child and took them to the local WAL MART to have them developed and the attendant saw them?
But on the other hand I am a photographer who loves juicy details. I want the best picture that I can capture. But do I go to these scenes(because I can) and take photos of gross events? NO. I will be the fireman or the paramedic that politely asks you to remove yourself from my scene. And if you don't I will have you removed. That is a patients right to not be photographed. And if you feel it necessary, go buy you a $2500.00 300mm zoom 2.8 lens and stand far, far, far away and don't get in my way.
durlstonp Plus
15 638 1 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2003 12:03AM
But Amy, nobody was talking about going to these scenes 'because they can' which implies a degree of ambulance chasing.

Imagine you were out with your camera one day, photographing urban landscape details or whatever, and the police did a sweeney-style car chase ending on on the other side of the road from you with some dynamic action of policeman leaping out, grabbing and arresting the bad guys. Would you preserve the rights of the arrested individuals and keep your camera by your side, or would you decide that it was the most dramatic potential news story / human interest shots / study of the police force that you are likely to get for a good while and shoot away?

Andy80F Plus
14 323 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2003 9:11AM
if I am called to a scene with multiple injuries and I am trying to cut someone out of a car, do chest compressions on a dead man or take a little old lady to the hospital
Your ability to multi-task is impressive but would your department have as much community support and respect if all your colleagues had attitudes. The public support the emergency services because they see them at work and witness the massive expense being utilised for the public good. Similarly would the Emergency Services have the same degree of job satisfaction and make the same efforts if they were to work in an atmosphere of disinterest from the public.

Yes any person, photographer or not, who hampers the work of the emergency servics and shows blatant disregard for the basics of human decency should be censured and kept at a safe distance. However the misplaced ego of an individual responders is thier own burden, projecting it onto others in officious behaviour is inapropriate and un-professional.
macroman Plus
14 15.3k England
7 Sep 2003 10:30AM
Isn't it simply that one should use that rarest of human commodities 'common sense'.

Obviously close-ups of the injured are out of bounds, and obstructing the emergency services by getting in the way also.
On the other hand taking general street scenes of the action, if done sensibly, ashould not cause offence.

T'other day I had to stop at a junction where there had been a collision between a van and a car with the van toppled on it,s side.
The fire and ambulance were there, I had my digi in the car and just took one pic through the windscreen of the general scene as a record for my collection of local history pix and carried on my way.

I can't see that taking type of photo is any worse than taking pix of tramps beggars etc, which some people specialise in.
They are all part of every day life, and as such should be recorded.

7 Sep 2003 10:14PM
I have been in EMS for 8 years. I sir am very much a professional, who is very much capable of multi tasking because I have been trained to do so. I do not stand on scene and shout to the public to leave, causing a public display of stupidity. I am simply saying that this is my JOB, and my scenes are not someones playground. I simply state that if you feel it neccessary to stop by my job site, which happens to be filled with fire, blood and/or guts, stay out of the way. I have had people climbing trees directly above me and an overturned vehicle just to get that "wow I was just driving by and saw this and wanted to snap a few shots." Most people think that it is their right to photograph anything and anybody they choose. If my patient is unable to request that you not photograph them, I will speak for them and tell you to leave. Thanks for your opinion anyway.
Andy80F Plus
14 323 United Kingdom
8 Sep 2003 9:20PM
The overwhelmng opinion of this, and its associated, thread is that the injured/deceased are given the proper respect.

Some of my favourite photographers are those such as Walker Evans, who recorded the social deprivations of the American depression, stunning work which deved into the pain and injury of the dispossesed and starving. Now those social photographers produced work that defined a time, did not fear the harsh realities and concentrated on life. It is to the great credit of the American Government of the day that they supported such work.
I will never amount to that standard of work or to that level of photographic importance but thier work does make one look at the world and events around you, and appreciate how events shape the time in which we live. When an event does unfold it should be recorded, while respecting the opening paragraph, it is right that people take notice of the tragedies and the pleasures. It is not right to ignore life, with or without a camera.

This weekend I will be riding to Scotland by motorcycle, a trip of 600 miles each way, if I see an accident, which is possible where aid can be rendered I will be first in to do so, but if while stopped in traffic (bikes usually get to the front of taffic queues) a scene unfolds involving helicopters fire/police/ambulance etc, then I will think about taking pictures if its safe (again while maintaining the ethos of the first paragraph). I can't see the wrong in this. It will not be important social documentary but will be a citizen taking notice of life around him.
Of course if no incidents unfold I will be all the happier and hope for nothing more mundain than good weather around Fort Augustus and the Inverness region which can be as visually stunning an area as the UK can offer.

9 Sep 2003 8:30PM
It seems that the press snap what they want.
Intrusive snaps of celebs appear every day in the press. Dead footballers on the field etc. Nobody cares who upsets the living so why worry about a car crash. Seems strange that we have double standards.
SuziBlue Plus
15 16.2k 10 Scotland
28 Oct 2003 10:28PM
Was interested in bumping this one up again in light of the recent court case for the photographers at the Paris crash scene. Al Fayed is citing the French privacy laws to try and prosecute them in the French courts.

However privacy law as such doesn't seem to apply in the UK for the same kind of situation .. What do people feel generally about taking photographs of a high-profile crash scene so close up? esp. the newspaper media guys here .. or is it something people only feel they would be justified in doing if they were paid to do this kind of work and not freelancing on spec ..? And as far as press photographers are concerned should there be a difference between a high-profile crash and one which involves an unknown member of the public ..?

Just interested ..
28 Oct 2003 11:09PM
Suzi I think it depends on the circumstances of an accident whether it should be seen or printed in news papers.

Scene 1). A car driver is innocently driving home early on a friday afternoon. He is driving past a school towards a school crossing patrol well within the speed limit. He goes to stop as the lollipop lady is seeing across some 7 year old kids. His brakes fail and he cannot stop in time killing 3 kids and injuring 4 others. It is a tragic scene which is nobodies fault.

To print photos of the accident would be both irresponsible and insensitive as they would not serve the families in anyway and would only add to their pain.

Scene 2) A foggy morning in rush hour. There are heavy tailbacks on the local motorway. Fog warning signs are lit and indicating a maximum speed of 40mph. A worker is travelling at speeds up to 80mph in the outside lane. he is on his mobile phone as he drives. He is chopping between lanes to cut through the tailbacks. Concentration is poor as he is also thumbing through some figures to try and save some time. he looks up only to see the traffic has come to a halt. He tries to swerve to avoid it but pilled in to the back of a now stationary car, This shunts forward into more cars and a domino effect has now started. A multiple pileup has now occurred with a catastrophic effect. people trapped in their vehicles with fires now starting to take hold. This scene happens every year and in some cases dozens of people have been killed. Not by the crash but burnt to death trapped in their cars.

In this scenario it would be irresponsible not to show photos of the scene. As every year people forget that it can happen in a hairs breath and need to be reminded of the innate stupidity of this kind of irresponsible driving.

Badger Plus
15 4.7k 20 United Kingdom
28 Oct 2003 11:14PM
Recently I was travelling to meet up with a friend, I had the camera bag (with new DSLR) in the boot of the car. As I was driving on the motorway I came across a very recent (less than two minutes) accident. I stopped to offer help to both drivers.
While I was there I offered to take shots of the incident, no injuries just shocked drivers and passengers, both drivers accepted my offer. I had shot about thirty images when the Police arrived. The officer who took charge checked that I had recorded the accident scene before moving the vehicles, then thanked me for offering the help, apparently it made his job a lot easier. The only issue the Police officer involved had was that I didn't photograph him, he told me it was beacause he hadn't done his hair for a photo shoot.
I sent the shots to both parties, which has sped up the insurance claims, I received a thank you e-mail from the driver who was the innocent party.
It just goes to show that you receive different attitudes depending on the equipment used and the way you speak to the emergency services.

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