We, as humans, are flawed beings; in some instances, very flawed. We’ve all been immoral or have made an immoral decision at least once in our lives, maliciously or otherwise. But why? To benefit ourselves? To inconvenience others? Simply because we’re horrible people?
Alright. Think of this: you’re a photographer. A good one. I’m not talking sixteen-year-old girl with an iPhone and a set of horrible filters, I’m talking a professional, dedicated artist with a passion for seeing life through a lens. Now, I’ve talked to other photographers/videographers about this so I know that I’m not the only one: I start seeing everyday life as if it were a photo. I literally look at people an envision them in my camera frame, pick focal points, imagining apertures and picturing how movement would look with an open shutter. I don’t even deliberately do it; it’s subconscious. In a lot of ways I’m thankful for this in that I see minute things as being beautiful.
But here is the issue: imagine you saw life the way I do. You couldn’t help it. You travel to Sudan to photograph nature and whatever else life decides to present to you. Okay, now imagine this: you see a very small, malnourished African child starving on the ground. Only a few feet behind this girl is a vulture, fixated on her.
Right now, I can tell you that everyone else on the internet world is saying they would put down their camera and help the little girl. However, you can’t forget: we are flawed beings who make immoral choices, maliciously or otherwise. This is the issue of famed photojournalist Kevin Carter, who took this iconic photograph:
He later won a Pulitzer prize for his work. Shortly after that, he committed suicide.
Photos such as this one have sparked outrage and controversy on an extremely large scale. Why didn’t the photographer help? How could they simply stand off to the side while the subject held on for its own life?
Kevin Carter is not alone: photographs from maybe world events have produced the same reaction (Holocaust, September 11th, genocides, riots, depressions) and with great reason.
As immoral people, we cause issues of our own: wars, murder, isolation, and the list goes on. These photographers see what they do as capturing life, and realize that life isn’t all beauty.
(Photograph from Kevin Carter)