Deceptive photographs

Post by Jason Plotkin

Shooting victim” Shelly Witta acts out in pain during the mock shooting drill at York Hospital on Saturday, April 20, 2013


This woman looks like she’s in pain, right?

Well, looks can be deceiving.

And so can photographs.

I was out covering a “disaster drill” at York Hospital where volunteers, who portrayed victims, are brought in to a triage area and treated for gunshot wounds.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for the staff to practice their skills in a controlled environment and a fantastic opportunity for the media to get in close and document this environment we would normally not be allowed in.

The volunteers are asked to play their roles as victims who are in pain as realistic as they can. Wounds and blood are put on them with makeup and many come in cringing in pain and sometimes even screaming.

I always need to be careful when taking photos in these environments. It’s easy to get in nice and close and photograph great emotion, graphic content and an intense scene where people are trying to save lives.

The problem is, it’s not real.

To show a photo like the one here would confuse some people. They may think it’s a real situation and this woman is in real pain. What I try to do in these situations is try to get photos that show off a more behind the scenes look. People not intense, maybe even showing humor.

Below are some other photos I submitted for the story:

Army medics, Angie Gilbert, left, and Amanda Cleveland, right, joke with “shooting victim” Tim Varnell as the duo care for him during a mock shooting drill at York Hospital on Saturday, April 20, 2013.

Dr. Matt Stephens calls out orders during a mock shooting drill at York Hospital on Saturday, April 20, 2013.

Army medic Angie Gilbert, left, who has spent two tours in Iraq, was so impressed with the makeup of “shooting victim” Mike Evans, she took photos after the mock shooting drill at York Hospital on Saturday, April 20, 2013.

A “victim” is brought into York Hospital during a mock shooting drill on April 20, 2013.

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A picture may be worth a thousand words, but there is often more to say about a great photograph. The York Daily Record's award-winning visual staff offers a peek behind the lens and into the process of capturing, editing and publishing their most interesting photographs, video stories and more.
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