man-injured-picture
Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (from The Big Picture)

Now that I’m on the verge of graduation, I often get asked about what I want to do with my photography degree. I mostly tell people that I know I don’t want to be shooting and instead I’d like to go into editorial or some kind of non-shooting-photo-related career. There are plenty out there, so I’m not worried. But when I tell people this, they respond by asking me why this is. I tell them it’s because after 4 years of photography school, I’m sick and tired of being forced to take pictures of things I really don’t want to. It’s a sort of half-assed answer to a question I really hate answering.

But the real reason why I don’t want to be a photographer is because I don’t want to be like the photographers above who stand around while a man lays injured in front of them. I learned early in my freshman year that there was a clear line of ethics that photographers are always standing on. The decision to take a photo or intervene in one’s surroundings is always looming in the mind of a photographer — do I help or do I take a picture so that others can be spurred on to do something about it later? It seems like common sense, but having it drilled into you over the course of 4 years really makes me not want to take up the camera as my line of profession.

Of course, I understand that not all photography work is as life-threatening as the one above, but even still I really don’t want to ever be caught in a situation like this where I find myself pausing even for the briefest of moments to decide whether taking a picture is more important than helping a fellow man.