The Subway Photographer: Could/ Should He Have Done More?

I heard about the “subway photographer”, Umar Abassi, this morning, over coffee, and I am feeling conflicted over this issue, and the comments surrounding it. For the story and feature photo,  see the New York Times article.

On the one hand, the image is gut-wrenching, and feels so wrong. As a human it sickens me. I immediately feel empathetic to the family of victim,  Ki-Suck Han. However, as a photographer, who feels strongly about photojournalism, I feel for the photographer as well. Why is he being held so accountable? Even more accountable in some ways than the very person who committed this violent act.  what about the others who were there? And honestly….would you put yourself at risk  of falling over yourself to pull up a stranger?

I once faced a similar, though far less tragic situation  as a Wedding Photographer. 

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The Bride and groom, take a long walk to the ambulance, where their daughter lies, after just having collapsed at the altar. I chose to keep shooting, my second shooter chose to help, I often wonder if I were the only photographer that day, would I have made the call for help?

Abassis’ photos  probably will  be an important part of the investigation and conviction of this violent offender. His photos will probably be the graphic push that is needed to make positive changes regarding saftey in the subway. As a photographer, it is your job to document, and he did just that, helping in the best way he knew how. Photojournalism is supposed to be evocative, and this controversial image evokes as much emotion and feeling as you can get, what are you thoughts on the issue? Should he have acted differently?

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Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, Lexington, Thomasville and Kernersville Wedding Photographer: Shanna Duffy
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