The basic problem in these kinds of situations is that we deem others' behaviour inappropriate only because we are making assumptions (often incorrectly) about why said behaviour is happening. To my mind - I would hope that the individual with this behaviour is thinking conscientiously at all times about what they're doing - and not harming themselves or anyone else. That's where I'd draw the line. If someone's CLEARLY being exploited or hurt - I'd really have to step in and say something.
if you had been in england, or france, or india, or brazil, or the central african republic
and someone was struck by a train, hit by a bus rolled in their car, or a large animal was
struck would you have thought the same things ?
is it because you were on tribal land you didn't want this person to take a
photograph, are there laws there that forbid photography?
was it because you thought it was distasteful to photograph things "like that" ?
what does being from tennessee have to do with the way he acted?
i am sure there are plenty of car and train accidents there,
and people rubber-neck and photograph accident scenes as they do everywhere else.
sorry, i don't mean to sound insensitive, or contentious, i am trying to figure out
where you are coming from.
We've gotten much more tabloid as a society. When I was first a TV news photographer and editor 25-years ago, you simply did not show bodies. You tried not to shoot them, but frequently got them while shooting an otherwise newsworthy scene. On certain very rare occasions there was some reason to show the video, but we always gave plenty of warning so the viewers could turn away if they wanted.
Now, at least in the US, it's different. News programs seem to think nothing of showing bodies or anything else.
Along the same vein, there's a criminal case working it's way through the courts here in Florida - two teenagers were legally having sex. They videotaped themselves. Now prosecutors are charging them with possession of kiddie porn because they have the video.
I think it all goes to how photographed we are now - from birth. It used to be that one took a young baby to a professional photographer for a sitting. Then came more efficient home cameras, and babies were photographed at only a few days old. Then came video cameras and babies were shot in the hospital, and even being born. Their first steps are videoed - their first bike ride - their first everything.
I think folks have become used to the idea that absolutely everything in life, even the most intimate moments, can be photograhed. I'm not sure we are better for this.
My understanding is that, yes, being on tribal land, i.e., the Black Hills, is different from being, say, in the Black Country. As for myself, a former resident of the East Coast of the US, I'm not anywhere near as familiar with Western-US American Indian attitudes towards photography as some of our other posters are. But here in Ukraine, many people don't like the idea of making photographs in churches at all - even during weddings (there are no shots of my own wedding ceremony, for instance). So yeah, cultural considerations can be even stronger than what is sometimes considered a basic level of human decency.
Originally Posted by jnanian
Maybe he'll answer differently, but it's what I have to keep in mind over here.
The Kiev 88: Mamiya's key to success in Ukraine.
Photography without film is like Macroeconomics without reading goat entrails, and look at the mess that got us into.
Originally Posted by juan
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One of the additional duties of my photographic group in SEA was to take pictures of every accident or death involving miltary personnel wherever it took place or under any circumstances.
I've seen more than I want to see of that type of thing. I couldn't and wouldn't even want to try to describe these. In fact, it has taken me this time since the thread started to even think of replying as it brings back too many memories.
IDK why anyone would want to take such photos unless it was part of their job as a journalist or documenting it for the authorities.
If there was any possibility in my mind that I could influence the situation to avoid the death of others then I have no doubt at all about the choice I would make - I think many war journalists feel the same way.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
There is a fundamental element of wrongheadedness in this.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT HE WAS OBSERVING.
If we knew what others were seeing and feeling, there would be no need of photography.
Perhaps a re-read of the OP would help-
From the sound of the OP, they were on the train, the man got pushed under the train, and then the conversation happened after the police arrived and began their job. That to me places the act of photographing the carnage as an after-the-fact voyeuristic gawk. We can only go on the OP's description of the chronology, which places the act of photographing well after the murder.
I was coming home on the SW Chief (Amtrak) today. Around 10:00 AM a Laguna man (Indian/Native American tribe) either pushed or chased another onto the tracks in front of the speeding train. We were stopped for four hours while tribal officials, FBI, NTSB, etc. investigated. The body was strewn all over. Someone in the seat nearby said something about taking a picture. I told them not to, that for one thing the cops were right outside and could see them, and for another it would be a very untasteful thing to do. The man got mad at me. Should I have kept my mouth shut? I am all for photographers' rights but for one thing it was tribal land we were on. It was also one of their own that was killed. Out of respect I didn't think it was proper at all. He never took any pictures in the end but made more sarcastic comments to me. <edit>
The OP doesn't say "a photo of the carnage." You don't know what compelled the photographer. Perhaps it was the scene of the passengers. Perhaps it was a look on the face of a policeman. Maybe it was the crudest sort of tasteless gristle. Maybe it might have been a photo that would have had deep and meaningful emotional resonance for the photographer, and maybe for others. Maybe even the victim's family. YOU DON'T KNOW.
Saying "you should not photograph" is a variation on "you should not speak" and "you should not think." These sentiments have practical social purpose at times, but should not be held as general principle. Ever.