New York Post Runs Pic of Man About to be Hit by Subway Train, Sparks Photojournalism Ethics Debate
December 5, 2012 /Photography News/ The New York Post received harsh criticism after running a front-page photo of a man trying to scramble to safety seconds before he was killed by a subway train. But this picture's existence started another conversation, summarized on NBC’s Today Show: "Somebody’s taking that picture. Why aren’t they helping this guy up?"
R. Umar Abbasi, the freelance photographer who took the picture of the man who'd been pushed into the path of the subway train says he was too far down the platform to have saved him.
"It took me a second to figure out what is happening," he said. He saw Ki Suk Han (58) -the man pushed into the train's path- trying to get back on the platform, and then "the lights in the distance of the approaching train. The only thing I could think of was to alert the driver with my flash," Abassi said.
The photographer did not put down his camera and attempt to intervene, but --according to him-- no one else on that platform set aside their fears and chose to act either.
Ki Suk Han tried to climb a few feet to safety but got trapped between the train and the platform's edge and died shortly after being struck.
Abbasi's photographs were hotly debated by media, with some saying he had a duty to help, and others defending his actions. The front page picture suggests that Abbasi would not have had long to help Han. But The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart says that earlier photographs taken by Abbasi suggest he had ample opportunity to pull Han onto the platform.
Never mind what the photographer did. What would YOU do if you were standing beside someone who was pushed to the tracks?