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Reporting what seemed to be death

As a second year Photojournalist Intern at the Addison Independent in Addison County, VT I was asked to report this scene. I was told it was a three car crash but upon arrival was in shock at the scene I seeing, to me it looked like someone had died or was about to. The first thing I saw was a dump truck full of boulders fallen on top of a mini-van. Next I saw a woman’s arm reaching for a firefighter out of the mini-van.

As scared as I was for these people I knew I had to do my job. Before taking any images I asked a Firefighter is everyone was okay, He said, we’re not sure. I took my images until the Sheriff had asked me to refrain, at that point they were pulling the woman out of the mini-van. In the end, everyone was okay and walked out with minimal injuries.

Barbie Zelizer has many valid points but I wish she would take a walk on the photographers side a little bit more. We are there to report these things these tragedies to expose the horrors to the public in hopes that someone will stand up to the wrongs in the world. For me, I went to report that story and capture that image to let the family members and friends of these car accident victims know that, “Yes, this accident looks bad but everyone is okay. Do not worry.”





The Article for the accident if you’re interested:




It’s interesting how Barbie talks about different types of pictures and what they could all represent. In this case, it might be death but I wouldn’t of known until I finished reading your comment. Work always comes first in your case..I image this might be hard to do. Sometimes it’s frustrating to think that the person your taking a picture of might be you or one of your family members and the last thing that you would want after a horrible accident or crime scene is someone taking a picture of you. News sells! I know, but sometimes it’s just awkward if you put yourself in their position.


Initially, I want to side with the sympathy trumping photojournalism argument: ‘if the photographer is there, shouldn’t they be helping out rather than taking photos?’ But after you mention that “[photojournalists] are there to report these things these tragedies to expose the horrors to the public in hopes that someone will stand up to the wrongs in the world.” I feel like photojournalists have a greater duty in society.

Sure, one photojournalist could help out or step into a situation, but there are usually more specialized individuals around to help. Contrast that with the ability to make thousands of people aware and ready to help out in that particular situation, and now we have the responsibility of the photojournalist.


In this situation, I don’t think the photographer would do the victims any good by budding in, there are plenty of trained professionals here. I think that the criticism that photographers should be helping instead of snapping photos comes more from them standing around adjusting filters while kids starve to death in front of them. Clearly, photographers have a duty to curtail geopolitical imbalances, nationwide economic disparity, and unfair social structures.

Which is exactly what they do when they take pictures. Go get ‘em photogs.


I question your last sentence, only because to me I don’t feel that any family would want to see this image, and by the time it was printed they would already know that everyone was alright. I feel like you would be capturing the image for the sake of the news and to inform the public of the event. I am just a little confused by this statement.

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