Death, War and Cameras

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As the media brings us hourly and daily updates from the front lines and streets of Palestine and Israel, we see destroyed houses and grief-stricken families.  Watching the above video made me imagine myself in those poor kids’ shoes. Would I feel I was in good hands with all those people surrounding me or would I feel on display and scared in a room full of strangers?

People point their cameras in these kids’ faces, vying for a decent shot to instantly send off in a tweet or email to their waiting editors. Is it insensitive? In a way, yes but how many of you would be able to do this job? Could you run around taking pictures of weeping mothers and crying children knowing there is absolutely nothing you could say or do to help them?

As qualified professionals, members of the media are send overseas to complete a specific task: bring us unfiltered images of the real world, one we are miles away from and cannot even imagine being a part of. It must be a challenge to defend your job as a photographer when your professional duty can also be met with criticism. Who are the men and women taking these pictures and what are they feeling? How many of them go in with shaking hands and alert senses, ready to run in the direction of explosions because they signed on to be in these traumatic and uncomfortable situations?

Here in the U.S., we battle our domestic issues of college debt and a government that wants to hinder our Internet accessibility and I can’t help but think of how different our reality is to others. We believe our problems are as valid as anyone else’s but these are first world problems and not all countries are created equal.

As we watch these disastrous historic events unfold before us, keep in mind the dangers photographers put themselves in so that we can try to understand or at least get a glimpse of what the other side of the world is living through.

In times of war and death, the silent click of a camera brings more emotion than a carefully worded article. While there is power in words, it is the photographs that are engraved in our minds. A sincere thank you to the ones with cameras recording the history, and the blood, tears and moments we would have never known of otherwise.

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