Photographer’s responsibilities

On Monday afternoon I was dispatched to a woods fire in Newberry Township. In the course of taking photos, I came across a man who was grabbing hoses and pulling them into the woods. His intensity was obvious and I was immediately drawn in and began taking pictures of him in action. This is what I ended up with:


Once I felt that I had covered the scene thoroughly enough, I began sending photos back to the paper from the laptop in my car.
In addition to that, I also posted the photo on Twitter and Facebook with a link to the story. As the day went on and I moved on, I took note of a couple of exchanges on Twitter in response to my photograph. Here are two:

Steve Muzzleflash ‏ @MrStevenYoung
nice pic, ok… but then help the man after taking the photo, right?????? @NoPovertyPimps @Jasonplotkin @ydrcom

Manuel Gomez Manuel Gomez ‏ @NoPovertyPimp
@MrStevenYoung @Jasonplotkin @ydrcom I don’t think that’s how it works…

In response to this, I thought I’d explain in a little more detail how I respond in situations like this.
First of all, when I first noticed this man, I thought he was a firefighter who didn’t have time to put on his turnout gear. There were a few on the perimeter who were helping out and were not in gear.

Second, there were plenty of firefighters on scene to take care of what was happening. If I’m on a scene with someone alone and they are in serious trouble, I help. I’m a human being first who is a member of this community. If I saw that someone was in danger and there was something I alone could do, I would. Bottom line is, I don’t do anything that I can’t look my daughters in the eye and tell them about.

Lastly, I’m not one to say, “I’m just doing my job.” Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t think about what I do in that way. But, my personal philosophy on a fire or police scene is: “If I can do my job and not interfere in theirs, I do.” My role in these situations is to inform the public. That’s what I do best. I could possibly do more damage than good if I thought that my role was to “get in there” and start grabbing hoses. There are tons of more qualified people than me who are more capable of handling these situations.

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