If you are faced with the decision of whether to rescue a person from impending danger or take a photo of him in his final moments, the choice for most of us should be clearly easy. But the controversy surrounding the New York Post cover photo of a man about to be struck by an oncoming subway train and the Post photographer who took the photo suggests the decision may not have been as clear-cut. The photographer, R. Umar Abbasi, said he snapped the photos in order to use his camera’s flash to alert the train operator, but now has been forced to explain his actions.
Gawker reached out to several experts to ask what they would have done had they been on the scene, and their answers show it’s not an easy question to answer. The panel includes photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner Vincent Laforet, University of Maryland lecturer and National Press Photographers Association board of directors member Bethany Swain, and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalism professor at University of Florida, John Kaplan. Some of the commenters placed the responsibility on the New York Post and would not have ran the photo if it was up to them, while some ponder if a photojournalist should be an impartial reporter or become part of the story.
Check out Gawker’s story for the experts’ full comments.