Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Friday, April 19, 2013

This is what its supposed to look like

Never mind the controversy: this is what a journalist should be doing in times of crisis. This is the work of a photojournalist, of course, but their craft shows vividly what anyone in the field should be after: capturing and conveying the immediacy of the moment, ideally with the hope that someone, somewhere, may actually learn something. That hope may often be pretty deeply buried, but it ought to be there.

However, like many photos, this one is somewhat dependent on its descriptions, in this case the adjective "terrified." Small children are easily frightened. That's a universal survival skill among mammals that helps ensure there will be more mammals. What if the description told us that a child who fell on the sidewalk is being comforted by an adult? In that respect, the legendary news photos cited at the link above may be journalistically superior to Bill Hoenk's effort. They convey the horror of their moment independent of any description or caption. The context and witnesses will surely keep this photo from swinging into controversy like that  surrounding Robert Capa's Moment of Death photo. Still, it's pretty impressive.

Hoenk was a rarity that day, because he was doing his job well. He was not turning rescuer. He was not panicking on air. He was not indulging in the wildest of speculations live. He, and a handful of other photo and video journalists showed the world what was really happening at the Marathon, and thus deserve thanks and praise. If their work scares you, there are clearly many others in the media happy to indulge your tastes.

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