I often peruse a photography forum, and there are times when people post subjects that show me just how depraved people can be. Not by them posting pornographic or other exploitative pictures and calling it art, but — for example — discussing when it’s appropriate or inappropriate to take a picture. One person brought up a scenario:
If you’re daughter is being raped, do you take a picture, or do you drop your camera to save your daughter?
The answer seems obvious, doesn’t it? To me it did, but not to others. I was both disgusted and frustrated that people responded with such comments such as, “It only takes a second to take a picture. Afterwards, then you can help your daughter.”
Their reasoning? The photographer who took a picture of the man who jumped off the Twin Towers on 9/11/01. In doing so, the photographer captured a poignant and now historical moment of the horror of that day. By taking a picture of the horror of rape, the photographer can then share it with others so they, too, can see what a horrific crime it is.
Another comment went something like this: “You don’t know if the perpetrator has a knife. By interfering, you could put your own life at risk.”
So better to take a picture and walk away.
Human beings are selfish and self-absorbed by nature, which is why when someone does risk their own life to save another, we notice and call them heroes.
This particular thread showed that selfishness more succinctly than others I’ve read. No amount of appealing to their sense of empathy worked. They simply refused to put themselves in the shoes of the victim, proclaiming themselves victims when people “told” them not to take a picture and help, thereby violating their right to freedom of expression.
If you can stomach it, here’s the thread in question: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/55009360
This is the world we live in, and I am ever more grateful to those who help others without a second thought to their own well-being (or their “right” to take a picture), whether they be first-responders, family members, or complete strangers who happen to be in the right place at the right time.