What a picture?

On the walk into work today there was yet another car crash on the McGuinness and Nassau intersection. This intersection constantly has flowers tied to the lamp post for people who have died there, but it certainly made a change to actually see the cars hit at full speed. My immediate reaction was to reach for my cellphone and dial 911, but having started to describe the situation I realised there was already a police motorbike right in the middle of the crashed cars and a policeman pulling people out as everyone stood around watching in vague shock.

As more police cars arrived I decided there was nothing much more for me to do, and there had been plenty of other witnesses nearer than me, so I walked on to the subway. Then I started thinking that maybe I should be taking some shots of this for sale to local newspapers, given that I always have a camera on me. Even if this wasn’t front page news some dramatic, in action shots of police working with the people in the cars would surely have some value? For some reason though I couldn’t do it. The thought that someone may be seriously hurt in there made me sad, not keen to make money on breaking news.

Having met someone who works as an on call photographer for local news, pager constantly bleeping as someone falls off a roof during a police chase at 1am, I know it takes a certain mentality to dive in there and snap away in the midst of all the people, and I just don’t have that and probably never will. My default reaction is to call the police rather than reach for my camera, or try to recall my first aid training (now woefully out of date). But then what is different when I take a picture of kids in poverty stricken countries? Generally we would give them treats such as pencils or food but it’s still not much to help the situation they live in.

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