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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Utah mine pics - too many photographers, too close?
Fredrik Naumann, Photographer
Oslo | Oslo | Norway | Posted: 6:23 PM on 08.17.07
->> I have been surprised at some TV footage I saw from the Utah mine incident, apparently showing photographers in what looks like one of those much debated "scrums" (seen in particular on the baseball pitches perhaps). But this time photographers are not elbowing to get a shot of some coach shaking some other coach's hand (obviousely), but rather they seem to be running and shoving to get close to the anxious, greiving relatives.

there is an example (of the relatives, not the actual scrum, though you can sense it I think) here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6952180.stm , midway down the page.

I felt uncomfortble watching this. To me it seems it looked like the realtives were being treated like they were Britney Spears out shopping, with snappers closing in with their widest angels, flashes blazing right in their faces.

While I think greif may be part of a story (news or otherwise), I would like to think what sets photojournliast apart from the loathed paparazzis isn't only whats in front of our lenses, but also how we behave around the people we photograph? Shouldn't greiving relatives be shown some respectable distance, and shouldn't we be particularly sensitive around children in these situations?
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Nick Adams, Photographer
Marysville | CA | | Posted: 6:39 PM on 08.17.07
->> Wow. Where do I even start?

There is a big difference between paparazzis and photojournalism.

Paparazzis lack respect, they hunt and track down stars to photograph them.

In photojournalism, its all about being a fly on the wall. I'm sure that the photojournalist at the mine, Chris Detrick, Ramin Rahimian, Justin Sullivan, and the many others out there have the upmost respect for the families. These journalist are doing a hard job documenting a davastating event for the local community.

I think the photos are very honest, respectful, and true the event.
http://editorial.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx

http://extras.sltrib.com/tribphoto/galleryPhotos.asp?GID=CRAND_0817&sort=Ga...

Trying to link them with "scrum and paparazzis," is way off base.
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Matthew Rosenberg, Photographer
Charlottesville | VA | United States | Posted: 6:49 PM on 08.17.07
->> I will be the first to seperate photojournalists from the paps. These journalists out working are under a lot of pressureare trying to do an important job. That said, my initial reaction to seeing that same footage was a little sad. It did look like a mess on TV, and appearances count for a lot. Its times like these that I think maybe a pool situation would work out best for everyone involved. Again, I am not there and don't have all the details. I am sure though that it is a tough situation for everyone.
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Jerry Laizure, Photographer, Assistant
Norman | OK | USA | Posted: 6:51 PM on 08.17.07
->> Yep, that's us....flies on the wall......respecting privacy......letting people grieve in solitude......as this gallery clearly shows.......

http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=858
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Matthew Rosenberg, Photographer
Charlottesville | VA | United States | Posted: 6:53 PM on 08.17.07
->> On a more positive note on the issue. Photo 22 of 30 by Chris Detrick:

"Maria Lerma, right, and her daughter Adilene embrace by the entrance to the mine in Crandall Canyon Thursday evening. Maria's husband Natalio Lerma was uninjured in the latest bump.
(Chris Detrick/The Salt Lake Tribune)"

Beautiful photo.
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Kohl Threlkeld, Student/Intern
Monroe | MI | USA | Posted: 7:00 PM on 08.17.07
->> Fredrik,

You have a valid, yet slightly misinformed, concern. Often times photojounalists are called to photograph the worst of the worst situations, and usually there are lots of photojounalists called out to do this. Every PJ in the world would like to be given sole access to something like this So they could bond with the victims and show them that they care greatly about what they are going through, and show the families that they are there to help them show the rest of the country what the victims have to go through. Unfortunately, this never happens. These events are crowded and tough to shoot at, often giving that "scrum" appeal that you mentioned.

However, every one of those photojournalists have the same intentions. Its not about making millions and its certainly not to exploit the families who are suffering as the paparazzis would do. Its to tell the rest of the country what those people in Utah are going through. It just so happens that there is more than one photographer trying to tell the same story.

Kohl
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JohnPaul Greco, Photographer, Assistant
Milwaukee | WI | USA | Posted: 7:00 PM on 08.17.07
->> .."Yep, that's us....flies on the wall......respecting privacy......letting people grieve in solitude......as this gallery clearly shows......."

http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=858



-Priceless!! ;-)

JP
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Kohl Threlkeld, Student/Intern
Monroe | MI | USA | Posted: 7:02 PM on 08.17.07
->> Jerry,

Your first two images are powerful. Good job.

kohl
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Craig Dilger, Photographer
Brooklyn | NY | USA | Posted: 7:21 PM on 08.17.07
->> I spent 3 days down at the mine for WpN and I have to say that the still photographers have been amazingly repectful and have been treated well by people in the area. During the candle light vigil the members of the still media were sending one person up to gather names and then pooling caption info to avoid bombarding people with questions.

We were allowed into religios ceremonies including a Mormon service (which the media is almost always forbidden to attend) and the media has obeyed the requests of any buisness who don't want press working on their property.

This is a major news story that needs to be covered, the people of Huntington realize that. Do you think they would rather we just ignore the tragedy? I agree that the media needs to try to cover the story as respectfully as possible. That being said we need to be there and we need to cover every aspect to get the full story, that includes greiving families and friends. Nobody likes having to cover those things.. it sucks... and it sucks even more to have our own collegues belittle what we are trying to do.
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Jean Finley, Photo Editor, Photographer
Iowa City | IA | USA | Posted: 7:31 PM on 08.17.07
->> I actually watched some of what you're talking about on TV last night - and I was sickened. If what I saw was an example of being a respectful photojournalist, then you can cross me off the list of photojournalists. It was degrading and deplorable.
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Fredrik Naumann, Photographer
Oslo | Oslo | Norway | Posted: 7:36 PM on 08.17.07
->> Nick, the TV footage I saw were not of "flies on the wall", I can assure you. More like buzzing bees around honey. I saw no respect, which is exactly why I posted my questions.

Perhaps those few seconds on that newscast weren't representative of the coverage in general. And perhaps someone who actually was there can comfort me by saying that TV footage was a total misrepresententation of what happened. Nothing would make me happier!

However, I find it amazing and sad that someone (whoever) would think a few questions about the way we as photojournalists work on such sensitive issues warrants an "Inapproriate". Are we now not even to discuss how we all behave in various situations?

To deny mistakes sometimes are being done in our profession too, by our friends, collegues and ourselves, that people can get carried away ( I know I have!) is just sticking our heads in the sand. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. Perhaps we can learn from them, rather than close our eyes to them.

Kohl, having worked in this profession for approx 20 years, standing shoulder to shoulder with photographers at funerals, riots and whatnot, I am well aware of the many situations where everybody feels they "need" to have the same picture, "needs" to tell the same story. I have concluded many times it's better to just walk away. When there is that many photogrpahers there you can bet your life one of them is from AP, and the same picture will be on the wire shortly. Actually by walking away from the crowds I feel I don't loose out on a story, instead I usually find I am able to come up with something slightly more original. The editors I have worked for have usually appreciated this approach, and if for some reason my material wasn't that original after all, there is always AP/Reuters/getty for back up!

Craig, good to hear your perspective. However, if you think I try to belittle you, then you have read too much into my post. And if you think I wrote the tradegy should be ignored, you really didn't read my post the way it was intended. I said no such thing.

I wasn't there, I did however see some footage that made me wonder what was going on. I know what I saw, but I am glad someone now can confirm it wasn't representative for how most worked there.

Jean, I am glad someone else saw it too, and reacted. I was starting to think it was something I dreamt...
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Jeremy Harmon, Photo Editor, Photographer
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 7:41 PM on 08.17.07
->> Alright Jean, you're off the list.

This kind of work is never pleasant and I don't know anybody who likes doing it. But that doesn't change the fact that it's an insanely important story and it needs to be told.

Life isn't all puppy dogs and kittens or footballs and baseballs. Sometimes you have to tell the sad story with the same attention to detail utilized in the happy story.

Craig Dilger is my intern right now and he did a great job at the mine.
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Jean Finley, Photo Editor, Photographer
Iowa City | IA | USA | Posted: 7:55 PM on 08.17.07
->> It is possible to cover the "sad" story with the respect and dignity it deserves. It is possible to attend to details without behaving like a rabid pack of dogs.

If other PJs noticed it and thought it was questionable, then it doesn't deserve to be blown off with a "puppy dogs and kittens" cliche.
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Vincent Johnson, Photo Editor, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 8:04 PM on 08.17.07
->> Jerri, great examples from Oklahoma.

Fredrick, good points with strong un-abashed language.

The thing that gets me is we've all been here for sports or news. Most of the time, as I'm sure with the Oklahoma anniversary I would bet that there was a press release or some type of announcement that would have been a calling card to the media. So in that case I blame the group who wanted to see their story splashed across every paper or 10 O'Clock news show.

I haven't seen the video footage from Utah, but in one form or another we've all at one point in our career followed the herd. Whether it be out on the field for the coach/QB shot after the title game, or the injured to the ambulance from a fire or car wreck.

What's worse is that we all know some of the best images in our portfolio happen away from the herd, after the fire is out, or the stadium is empty, but we still follow the herd.

I know a lot of us, including myself, think every time we post something on this board that we should rewrite the invisible code of the PJ, but maybe just maybe, us bitching here will help some of us who are new or burned out think the next time we cover an event and maybe try not to be "that guy".

High school football starts next week, I might just walk in a different direction at the end of the game now.
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 8:39 PM on 08.17.07
->> OK, my time to chime in here since I have been on both ends-as a newspaper photojournalist, and now the past several years shooting celebrity "events" heavily in the summer when my corporate work slows down. EVERYDAY someone walks by the group of us and says "hey look, it's the paparazzi." Every Friday morning I shoot a concert series-either the Today Show or Good Morning America. Earlier this summer, Matt Lauer was out on the plaza live on the air and he said "the paparazzi are all here." PAPARAZZI???? Really? At an event?
And now folks, here is a little education/information for all of you here who think that all "paparazzi" are scum-do you honestly think that all these images you see of celebrities at the beach, out to dinner, walking down the street, playing on swings, eating ice cream etc. are from "loathed paparazzi" who just happen upon these people by chance? Well, I always wondered HOW ON EARTH are they ALWAYS in the right place at the right time? HOW? They are called, that's how. Either the celebrity of their "people" call individual photographers, or photo agencies.
What makes these photographers different from the ones here
http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=858
or the ones who were in the face of the poor grieving mother who was lying on the ground shouting "my baby, my baby" when the Pan Am flight crashed a decade or so ago.
I also find something a little humorous. For all the "paparazzi"haters and bashers here, many of you knew what TMZ was the other day. I shoot celebrity events and I wasn't event aware of that site til I saw it posted here.
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Adron Gardner, Photographer
Silverado | CA | USA | Posted: 9:20 PM on 08.17.07
->> It is the journalist's job to document the events of history as they happen. I don't see anything that is out of line here. The LA Times ran a powerful front page image from the mine accident and they did their job.

People involved in a rescue attempt to save lives, and consequential events is news, it is important and I don't see anything invasive or paparazzi here.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 12:25 AM on 08.18.07
->> fredrik, I couldn't find the video you referred to but I have to say lumping news photographers into the same pot as paparazzi is just plain wrong (debra forgive me if I step on your toes here) but chasing some dimwit celebrity who happens to be famous, or not so famous and attempting to make news by getting their steroid pumped bodyguard to smack you to the curb because you invaded their space is one thing. what was the news value there? I've been involved in these tragic spot news situations before and for the most part the "pack" (if that's what you wanna use) did exactly what craig said was done. we all shot the same photos. ONE person went and got the ID's. that's pretty darn respectful in my book. it's a big story. and calling the folks that are out there shooting in an explosive and terribly tragic event paparazzi is wrong. paparazzi want to be where they are, listen to the interviews they give, they LIKE being in the limelight, I don't know many news photographers who TRULY want to witness some of the horrific and tragic events they HAVE to cover but they do it because it's their job, as adron says.
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Jack Joseph Jr., Photographer
Scottsdale | AZ | USA | Posted: 1:47 AM on 08.18.07
->> The TV frenzy over the disaster has been disgraceful. As usual it's not about supplying information on The Situation; it's all about The Media. Next we’ll see Geraldo and Greta stumbling around the mining operation looking oh so “journalistic”.

Crowding around ambulances and anyone who will talk they blab on for hours over the air telling us very little. Every little speculation is suddenly "Breaking News". As an American I'm so embarrassed at what our major news outlets have become. It's lowest common denominator journalism and the bar keeps going down year by year.
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Justin Sullivan, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | | Posted: 2:47 AM on 08.18.07
->> Since I was one of the photographers there when the family arrived, I have to say that I am pretty offended to be compared to the paparazzi. It is one thing to be called paparazzi by some drunk idiot at a baseball game, but to have other photographers suggest it is pretty upsetting. To be compared to a "rabid pack of dogs" and to be accused of behaving in a "degrading and deplorable" way makes my stomach turn. Such sweeping accusations and assumptions that imply we(photojournalists)acted inappropriately based on a seconds long clip you saw on TV are totally out of line.

Still photographers at the media camp (all FOUR of us) acted appropriately when the family came running down the dark highway crying out for their family memeber. We all gave respectable space and a couple even shot with longer zooms. Keep in mind, it is 9:30 at night, dark, and these people just come out of nowhere. The family ran to a sheriff deputy for help but the woman only spoke spanish. Television cameras started to move in closer, and soon there was probably 5 cameras. Two sheriff deputies moved the family out of the road over to a parking area, we followed, once again, at a respectable distance. It was when the family stopped that TV cameras and reporters started to crowd in, forcing us (the stills) closer, but still not pushing or shoving any of the family or the media from what I can remember. I definitely didn't see any shoving. This little pack lasted about 2-3 minutes, if that. So, there was us FOUR stills, 6 or 7 TV cameras, a bunch of reporters and the sheriff deputies. Trust me, if we were in any way endagering this family, the sheriff would have cleared everyone away. The whole time this was happening, the mother was speaking spanish, so the sheriff did not know how to help the woman. What you didn't see on TV was the spanish speaking members of the media translating what was being said to the sheriff who then tracked down the woman's husband, who, by the way, was not one of the miners that was injured. This helped calm down the family, which brought smiles to their faces and dried the little girl's tears. What you also didn't see while you watched TV was how members of the media offered coats and blankets to the family since it was cold and helped move the family to the salvation army trailer. That's pretty degrading and deplorable isn't it?

Since it was unclear who these people were, they really came out of nowhere, it was something that you had to cover. For all we knew, this could have been the family of one of the miners that had been killed. It was pretty much spot news. You can't assemble a pool to cover a spontaneous event that lasts 4 minutes and you can't go across the street to not be in the pack to "get something different" when it is almost pitch black.

Had we known these people would be showing up at 9:30, had this been a scheduled event, we could have set up a little podium with lights and a backdrop and we could have all had our little marked spot...but this was a spontaneous event which was part of a very big story.

It's just amazing to me that you watch this on TV, but it never occurs to anyone that what you are watching is video, shot by a TV camera which often outnumber still cameras. I think all you see is still cameras because we end up being on the front line pushed in as TV crowds us in since it seems impossible for them to back up a few feet. So, you either get forced in closer or you are behind them and you get nothing. Every scrum situation I have ever been in, whether it be a sporting event or just some talking head, TV jams in to within a couple feet of someone's face. I don't like to get that close, it makes for a really awful distorted photo. But sometimes you have to do the best you can.

Yes, you can cover a sad story with respect and dignity and throughout my career I have done just that.

The press corps in Utah has been extremely professional and respectful to the families and the community involved in this tragedy. Nobody follows these people, we don't stake out their homes or pressure them for interviews. But when someone comes running into your media camp, you can't run away.

These are tough stories to cover, nobody gets excited when you get the call to ship out the next day to cover something that will most likely end tragically. They are depressing and exhausting. I spent the last five days living in my car on the shoulder of a mountain road 24 hours a day without showering and eating the canned food provided by the Salvation Army. I got little sleep from being constantly on edge, waiting for something to happen, waiting to hear if six men were dead or alive. Despite these conditions, you had to always be ready in case the mine owner decided to come down at 4:00 am to update the media. It wears you down. It makes it much harder when fellow photographers question your ethics and professionalism.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 3:05 AM on 08.18.07
->> thanks justin. that's what I was talkin' about.
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Jeremy Harmon, Photo Editor, Photographer
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 3:30 AM on 08.18.07
->> Yes, Justin, thank you.
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Fredrik Naumann, Photographer
Oslo | Oslo | Norway | Posted: 4:32 AM on 08.18.07
->> Thanks Justin. I am sorry you were so offended. Using the P-word get everyone upset, and sadly takes attention away from the issue I wanted to raise. So if we can forget the P-word for a few seconds I would like to add a few things, on covering such things:

I appreciate what you say about TV always going right in someones face, and to get a shot yourself there is nothing else to do but to move in close too. Well, that is my point: we don't have to! Don't let the TV guys set the standard for what is right or wrong. (in fact, if you are infront of them, like you say, just stop instead of going ever closer...)

I am also surprised to hear how you refer to the Sheriff not considering the media to be "endangering" the family. Surely you don't mean it's OK to shoot everything, always, until the sheriff puts a stop to it for safety reasons? Is the sheriff now setting the standards for photojournalism?

Perhaps it is a cultural thing, but I don't think greiving/anxoius relatives is something that MUST ALWAYS be photographed. Yes, often and sometimes, I agree, but not always and under any circumstance. What about those photographers who didn't get that shot, that evening, or the newspapers that didn't run these particular pictures, didn't they do their job? Wasn't their coverage up to standard?

Things like this is covered thoroghly here too, IMHO, but it is done without "FOUR stills, 6 or 7 TV cameras, a bunch of reporters" crowding in on a family without warning. Usually relatives aren't even shown at all, unless they've given their OK. Even if they turn up at "media camp" without warning. Perhaps they were thinking more about where to find their relative, than how to circumnavigate the media?

Lastly, i think we should all question our own and our fellow photographers "ethics and professionalism", from time to time. Please question mine! PJs today are put under pressure from many sources, and our business is changing from day to day. I would like to think an open and frank discussion will keep us on our toes.
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Matthew Rosenberg, Photographer
Charlottesville | VA | United States | Posted: 10:14 AM on 08.18.07
->> Justin, thanks for the insight into what is going on there. Frederik, it is all well and fine to question our own actions but maybe let's give a it a few days. When things calm down a bit a more disppassioante assesment will be possible.

-Matt
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Michael McNamara, Photo Editor, Photographer
Lincoln | NE | USA | Posted: 12:03 PM on 08.18.07
->> Ok, Fredrik, I'll question your professionalism right now.

Calling out photographers in a situation that is an ocean away that you've only seen snippets of on TV is very unprofessional. From your recent post, the only thing you seem to regret is using the word "paparazzi."

You also seem to suggest that maybe we should just have a pool still camera, pool tv camera and pool reporter at the scene, and they will only photograph relatives when they give their consent first, even if they show up at the media center. That sounds a lot like state run media, aned that is about as far from "freedom of the press" as you can get.

It is possible to separate the pack mentality from doing respectful journalism in a group of people. Sadly, you don't see that.
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Jeremy Harmon, Photo Editor, Photographer
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 12:24 PM on 08.18.07
->> Fredrik,

How is it unethical or unprofessional for photojournalists to cover a scene as best they can as it spontaneously unfolds in front of them? In my mind that is the very definition of ethical and professional journalism.
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Justin Sullivan, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | | Posted: 12:48 PM on 08.18.07
->> “I appreciate what you say about TV always going right in someones face, and to get a shot yourself there is nothing else to do but to move in close too. Well, that is my point: we don't have to! Don't let the TV guys set the standard for what is right or wrong. (in fact, if you are infront of them, like you say, just stop instead of going ever closer...)”

Fredrik, in a perfect world, sure, but in reality, I can't stop TV crews and reporters from doing what they are going to do. If I stop and stay in my spot, allowing a respectable buffer between me and something that occurs in a split second, (which I always make the best effort to do) I am going to be behind a wall of people in a blink of an eye. Most photographers I know would like to keep this buffer. Since we are almost always outnumbered, it is usually unavoidable.

As for the sheriff, I don't think I made any suggestion that a law enforcement official sets any standard or dictates who or what I should be covering or not covering. I was merely pointing out the fact that we have had a good working relationship with the sheriff at this event and we respect their direction if it is appropriate and doesn't undermine our right to be on a public road. If this "scrum" was becoming a safety hazard or if people were shoving (as you say you saw on TV) then they would have stepped in because that is their job to ensure public safety. That in no way shape or form suggest that they set policy for journalists, it means they would do their job to keep people safe.

"I don't think greiving/anxoius relatives is something that MUST ALWAYS be photographed. Yes, often and sometimes, I agree, but not always and under any circumstance."

ok, so you don't think this is something that must always be photographed, but do it often and sometimes? That doesn't really make much sense. I do agree that you don't always have to shoot this stuff and there are plenty of occasions that I don't. This was a very unique situation. This was the eleventh day of a rescue mission that unexpectedly turned from bad to worse. Until this time, there had been no real public showing of grief, no images that showed how this tragedy affected this community. This family was really the first time someone had broken down in public. This was the first and only grieving person that I photographed.

It is important to show how much this community is hurting. It makes the story real; it puts a face to the tragedy. Pictures of press conferences cannot show this. People all over the world see this and are touched by it. This is a very small town that heavily relies on these mines to live. If the media didn't cover this, you would never even know Huntington, Utah existed. Because of ongoing coverage, people still know this is going on and donations have been flooding into the town every day from all over the world. The people in this community have no problem with the press being in their town and keeping their story in the headlines, even on days when there are no new developments. What if this woman had lost someone in the mine that night and found herself alone to take care of a family without money or support. What if we didn't cover her grieving that night because "it's so disrespectful" and nobody ever heard of Maria Lerma? Would she benefit from generous people from around the globe? Would people take interest in mine safety laws which could prevent future accidents like this from happening? I’m not saying that the press is some sort of miracle agency saving the world, but people are definitely touched by what we do.

“What about those photographers who didn't get that shot, that evening, or the newspapers that didn't run these particular pictures, didn't they do their job? Wasn't their coverage up to standard?”

I don’t really understand the point of this question. It is not my responsibility to concern myself with who got what or how a news organization runs their photographs. I do everything I can to help fellow photographers, beyond that, they should be competent enough to use their best news judgment.

I agree that scrums happen all too often, especially on big national stories where hundreds of media organizations are trying to cover the event. We all try to co-exist in these situations, but it is often tough. I don’t think it is fair to single out still photographers as being the instigators of these mobs because more often than not, we are forced into the center, and often cannot get out and this is what you see on TV, people trying to move but can’t and is then misconstrued as “jockeying for position” or shoving.

I agree that we should collectively discuss the ethical and professional practices of other journalists. What we shouldn’t be doing is making accusations and assumptions from our homes as we watch news develop on television without asking questions and collecting facts. That is the role of a journalist, no? We shouldn’t publicly accuse people of doctoring photographs without knowing the full story, something that happens far too often on this website. We should question why cable television news has turned journalism into sensationalized unbiased commentary and why Paris Hilton going to jail warrants breaking away from a news conference on important things like the ongoing war in Iraq. We need to question why people throw away their rights and give their photographs away in exchange for a credential to a professional sporting event. These are important issues that are destroying journalism.
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Andrew Smith, Photographer
Ross-shire | UK | Scotland | Posted: 1:24 PM on 08.18.07
->> Poll: Who ranks the feelings of the subject as more important than the need to get a good photo?
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Craig Mitchelldyer, Photographer, Assistant
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 1:42 PM on 08.18.07
->> Andrew, that is not really a poll you can conduct. The feelings and emotions of the subject IS the photo. We don't tell people how to act or what to feel we simply document what they do and what we see. If you have never been in a situation like this...and I'm guessing you have not....its not fun, nobody wants to do it, but its part of the job. Shooting a family member crying their eyes out because they do not know if another family member is dead or alive is not something any of us wake up and hope to shoot. But when you are working on huge story such as this that is a story telling image. I'm not in Utah and I don't want to speak for the people there, Justin has already done that. I don't understand why this is still a debate. I think you'll notice that all the folks here that seem to have a problem with it are the folks that saw 2 seconds of a TV clip and have never been in situation even remotely close. If you had, you would know that Justin, Chris, Rick Bowmer of AP and whoever else is there is doing a fantastic job and a very difficult assignment. They are sleeping in cars at the site 24/7 with no good food or even a shower to cover the story and doing a damn good job at it. Believe me, they care about the people involved.
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Andrew Smith, Photographer
Ross-shire | UK | Scotland | Posted: 2:10 PM on 08.18.07
->> Craig, I'll clarify the question: If taking the photograph you want to take may increase stress on the subject(s), would you take the photograph?
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Chris Detrick, Photographer, Assistant
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 2:16 PM on 08.18.07
->> Fredrik,

I am one of the so called 'paparazzi' in Utah that you are calling out on the SS message board. I was there that night and was in the middle of the scrum, taking pictures for the Salt Lake Tribune. Yes, it was not an ideal situation, but we did what was needed in order to make story-telling pictures for this very important story in Huntington, Utah.

For you to call us out publicly here when you were NOT THERE, is very unprofessional, condescending and shows your ignorance for the situation, as well as the process of journalism. Before Justin Sullivan responded, your only insight was a short clip from TV. Do you base all of your views and judgments from 30 second TV clips?

Any good journalist is trained to gather facts from all sides of a given situation before making an informed conclusion. You did not do this and your assumptions were very far from the actual truth.

I urge you to reread Justin's responses. He clearly explains the circumstances of that situation in a way that everyone should understand. I would be happy to answer any other questions you have about our coverage here at the mine, but in the future, please do a little more research before publicly commenting on a situation that you know very little about from ~5,000 miles away.

-chris
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Shaun Ward, Photographer
Perth | Tayside | Scotland UK | Posted: 2:25 PM on 08.18.07
->> As a newcomer to the journalist side of photography I would like to ask a couple of things.

Does every photographer need to have a valid press pass when covering events like this (ie could the police move you on if you didn't)?

How many photographers would a agency/paper send to an event like this? Just enough or too many?

I have been following the coverage through Trent Nelson's blog.It's a great insight.

http://blogs.sltrib.com/trent/
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Andrew Smith, Photographer
Ross-shire | UK | Scotland | Posted: 2:30 PM on 08.18.07
->> Chris said: "Do you base all of your views and judgments from 30 second TV clips?"

Every day of our working lives we try to inform people with a split-second still image.
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Shaun Ward, Photographer
Perth | Tayside | Scotland UK | Posted: 2:36 PM on 08.18.07
->> Sorry I meant pass card not press pass.
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Fredrik Naumann, Photographer
Oslo | Oslo | Norway | Posted: 2:44 PM on 08.18.07
->> You make some very good points, Justin. Allow me to point out I used phrases like "it seems", "looked like" and "apparently" deliberately, for the very reason that it was seen on TV , not experiensed first hand. And I was in fact asking questions, not making accusations, to find out if what I saw was what it looked like. And it didn't look good to in that clip..I still think so.

Jeremy: I personally don't think it is our duty to cover all and any thing that unfolds in front of us, simply because it happens to do so. Things unfold in front of us all day long, but we choose to document some of them based on several factors. Newsvalue is only one factor for most, I think. Decency and respect, right to privacy are others that I am sure we take into consideration. Or is anything (and anyone) fair game, as long as it "spontaneously unfolds" in front of you? Generaly speaking: I'd like to think it is possible to be a human first, then a PJ, and still do a good job.

Michael MN: I am not sure what you are getting at. State run media, where did that come from, what has it got to do with anything? (we don't have that here if that is what you think..)

Chris D: see my reply to Justin above, in this posting. I know your toes are sore at the moment, but it would be much more interesting to hear your perspective on working under such conditions, rather than raging against me for asking what went on there. As for distance to what is going on, are only those present allowed to form an opinion? So we can't have opinions or ask questions on what we see on television anymore?
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Jeremy Harmon, Photo Editor, Photographer
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 2:55 PM on 08.18.07
->> "Who ranks the feelings of the subject as more important than the need to get a good photo?"

You're missing the point. It's not about getting a good photo. It's about informing the public.
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Andrew Smith, Photographer
Ross-shire | UK | Scotland | Posted: 3:00 PM on 08.18.07
->> Informative = good
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Fredrik Naumann, Photographer
Oslo | Oslo | Norway | Posted: 3:02 PM on 08.18.07
->> I haven't found the same clip that upset me the first time, but in this clip (1:25 into it) some still photographer is well inside what I'd consider personal space under these circumstances.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouWBA9oBRcs

If this isn't too close, it would be interesting to know how close you all would go before you said "that's it, I am not going any closer, regardless".

Of course the other cameras, TV cameras, and their lights adds to the situation. And I would guess ( I am not declaring this as a truth, it seems I need to point out..) adding to an already stressful situation for all involved.
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Justin Sullivan, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | | Posted: 3:12 PM on 08.18.07
->> I need to correct something in my last post. I wrote that we need to question why cable TV news has turned journalsim into sensationalized unbiased commentary.I meant to say sensationalized biased commentary. Sorry for the screw up.
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Jeremy Harmon, Photo Editor, Photographer
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 3:33 PM on 08.18.07
->> Fredrik,

Is this too close?

http://www.photoshelter.com/img-show/I0000GaBtY1iZkn8

Using your own arguments one could say this an inappropriate photo. This guy really looks like he needs immediate medical attention, but there's a photographer pointing a camera in his face. So if your photo is okay, why do you have such an issue with routine coverage of the mine disaster?
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 4:26 PM on 08.18.07
->> Craig, I'll clarify the question: want to take may increase stress on the subject(s), would you take the photograph?

It's very difficult NOT to increase the stress of most subjects in this kind of thing.

Grief, tragedy, death, injury. These are not happy subjects. Photographing them will never be comfortable. Sometimes it means being close.

It is the job. You either believe in it or you don't.
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Fredrik Naumann, Photographer
Oslo | Oslo | Norway | Posted: 4:56 PM on 08.18.07
->> I'd be happy to discuss that Jeremy! But I have done worse things Jeremey, keep looking ;-) Even if it means deviation from the issue at hand (perhaps your intention). What do YOU think, is inappropriate? Perhaps, but I don't think so.

I think the two situations differ in this: the realtives did not choose to be put in that situation, to possibly have lost a familymember and then have their greif documented by 10+ camreas of various sorts (even if they wandered into the media compound) Whereas "my" guy chose to enter a situation he knew to be both dangerous and covered heavily by the media. Secondly, my guy wasn't even aware of what was going on around him after being hit, so I didn't add to his stress. Whereas the realtives must have really felt the media presense. And lastly, there is the cultural difference. In the Middle East poeple often want you to document their suffering, to show the world if you like, how they are being treated. I dont know of course, but I doubt the realtives in Utah had the same urge to show off their greif.

For the record: You make it sound like there my camera is preventing him from getting medical attention, which I can assure you wasn't the case.
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William Maner, Photographer
Biloxi | MS | USA | Posted: 4:58 PM on 08.18.07
->> I wonder how the UK press photographers handled incidents like the school shooting at Dunblane?

Or the Pan-Am crash at Lockerbie?

Or the London subway/bus bombings of a couple of years ago?

Family, friends and bystanders will be stressed out in those situations. I don't think most of those people are really worried about having their picture taken.

Just go back to last year, to the shooting at the Amish school in Pennsylvania. There were a lot of photos of the incident. There were questions asked about how to go about photographing the Amish since they frown upon having their picture taken.

In these events--like a mine disaster or the 9/11 attacks--there's always going to be photographers who appear a little overzealous or intrusive in their work. It's just the nature of the situation.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 5:17 PM on 08.18.07
->> fredrik, your logic is, well, illogical. whether or not your subject was out of it or not, you had a camera jammed in his face. we have a saying over here, "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." as unfortunate as it is, we have to make these kind of photos sometimes, sure you can say no. but I wouldn't want to be on the other end of the conversation when your explaining to your boss why you didn't shoot a photo that every other news organization got, especially if you were standing there. I actually haven't known but a couple of folks (still photogs) who charge into an emotionally charged situation with a wide. most of the people I have worked/competed with over the years know you almost always get a better photo with the long glass. and it's less obtrusive.
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Jeremy Harmon, Photo Editor, Photographer
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 5:26 PM on 08.18.07
->> Fredrik,

I don't think your photo is inappropriate at all. At the same time, I don't think the mine coverage has been inappropriate.

I just don't understand why you have such an issue with the mine coverage when you have obviously covered emotionally volatile situations and know that sometimes stuff just happens and you have to roll with it.
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Craig Dilger, Photographer
Brooklyn | NY | USA | Posted: 5:44 PM on 08.18.07
->> I believe that it is impossible not to affect your subject in some way, positive or negative, there will be some stress added by our presence. It is our responsibility to attempt to portray their emotions to the public for the sake of information.

A tragedy like this will inevitably turn into a media event. People know that, those who wish not to participate in Huntington have been staying away from the media and avoided the stress. The people in the town have helped them with that endeavor. Many people have volunteered interviews, others have refused. If the family photographed the other night had signaled that they didn't want their photos taken I would have respected that request. I was not there but Detrick tells me that the family never made any such gesture or request. If they had, I am sure he and all of the colleagues that I met there would have been respectful of that request.

We need to see faces and emotion so that we empathize and learn from other's experiences. The story needs to be told, in this case to promote mine safety. Look at what the reporting on the recent bridge collapse has done to encourage changes in bridge inspections and safety standards.

Where do you draw the line on what is too far? Should writers have to leave out names and specifics? Should we all have to trust what one media source says is accurate or important in order to avoid crowds? Does there need to be 50 foot rule the moment someone gets emotional? Or is one reporter too much? I am not say that you suggested any of these steps, only that once you start restricting the media you are opening the floodgates.

I believe that the media plays an important role in informing society and that should not be restricted. I feel that the majority of my colleagues agree that it is important to be respectful to our subjects. Without our subjects we are nothing. Our actions at this event will shape the way our subjects respond to us at the next. I don't pretend it is as difficult for us to cover their emotion as it is for them to deal with their emotion, but if we don't cover it the public will only see headlines and never see that they are real people.
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Fredrik Naumann, Photographer
Oslo | Oslo | Norway | Posted: 6:01 PM on 08.18.07
->> Chuck: regarding glass houses: So unless I am perfect and have never made a mistake myself, I have no business in this forum to ask if someone else possibly got overzealous or intrusive? If that is a general rule, I suspect this forum will be very quiet...
My boss (that would actually be me these days, but lets say for the sake of argument I was still working for a newspaper) would be very UNhappy if I shot a "photo that every other news organization got". He (or she) would probably say: "why the hell didn't you get something new, better, something different?!"

Jeremy: I am glad we at least agree on the appropriatness of my picture, though I wouldn't mind if you didn't. I could take it ;-)

Now it's past my bedtime. With a bit of luck this thread has maxed out by the time I wake up :-)
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 10:32 PM on 08.18.07
->> I live in a house with screen windows. but hey you were bustin @+lls so I thought I'd get in on the fun. hey we all have made mistakes and probably will continue to. peace out dude
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August Miller, Photo Editor
Bountiful | UT | USA | Posted: 4:16 AM on 08.20.07
->> As a photo editor in Utah who has been working with the photographers at the Mine disaster I just want to say that I am extremely proud of how professional, dedicated and respectful they have all been covering this very important international story. Justin Sullivan's comments hit the nail on the head in his first post where he said, "Yes, you can cover a sad story with respect and dignity and throughout my career I have done just that.
The press corps in Utah has been extremely professional and respectful to the families and the community involved in this tragedy. Nobody follows these people, we don't stake out their homes or pressure them for interviews. But when someone comes running into your media camp, you can't run away."
I personally know almost all the photographers working down there and there is not one of them that I would even remotely question in terms of their professional, ethical or photojournalistic skills. Many of them have gone days sleeping in cars in very cold nighttime conditions, with little sleep and not one of them has complained or been unprofessional. As far as I'm concerned (and I've been doing this for a long time) they all deserve all the respect that we can give them. Kudos to you all for your great work! You have served and informed readers as any good photojournalist should.
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Thread Title: Utah mine pics - too many photographers, too close?
Thread Started By: Fredrik Naumann
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