I can’t be a photographic journalist

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images seen on boston.com’s Big Picture story Xenophobia in South Africa

One of my favourite sites at the moment is “The Big Picture” from boston.com, most of the photos are amazing. But today there are some photos on the site that make me feel bad to my core. They have brought home to me that I could never take photos like that.

I like the fact that I can, at times, disassociate myself emotionally from my environment. But I’m pretty sure I’d never be able to do it when seeing what can be perceived as innocent people suffering. The choice to take the photograph rather than assist  would be a no-brainer for me. I’d have to assist, even to my detriment.

There is no way, this side of hell, I could watch a man on fire and take the photo. And that’s what you’ll see if you click the link to reveal the photo on Big Photo’s Xenophobia in South Africa labeled

Warning:
This image contains graphic
or objectionable content

click here to view it.

I of course didn’t read the caption on the photo before I revealed it, perhaps I should have. I emplore you to check out boston.com’s Big Picture and don’t want this to turn you off some of the truely inspiring photos they have on the site.

I also have to note of course; without the people who can take these photos we would live in our own little worlds and never know of the atrocities that exist beyond our borders, nor would our eyes be opened to the fact that they don’t only happen there, but they also happen here.

One thing local news reports do is propagate an us and them approach to death. Even when the tsunami hit south east Asia, Australian news coverage was centered around the number of Australians who had died. But the other 200,000+ who perished were no less important even if we were made to feel they were.

So I guess I’m saying that no person should look at the photo of a burning man and not be hunted by it for a time, just because he’s not “one of us” or because the problem is “over there”. We are all the same people. We all want to live our lives and no one should ever be treated in this fashion.

No living creature deserves to know what it feels like for their flesh to burn.

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