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Critics Unfair, Freelance Photographer Says
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'TOO FAR AWAY TO HELP': A day after snapping the slaying of a man pushed onto the tracks, photographer R. Umar Abbasi returns to the scene.

Anguished fotog: Critics are unfair to condemn me
By R. UMAR ABBASI
Last Updated: 9:27 AM, December 5, 2012
Posted: 12:39 AM, December 5, 2012

[New York] Post freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi captured the dramatic moments before Ki Suk Han was struck by a downtown Q train. A day after the pictures were published, a flurry of criticism erupted — from other media and over social media like Twitter. He recounted the ordeal to The Post yesterday:

Link below.



http://www.nypost.com/r/nypost/2012/12/05/news/web_photos/umar_abassi--525x800.jpg

More coverage:

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/12/subway-pusher-confesses.html

R. Umar Abbasi, the Post freelance photographer who took the disturbing shot, still insists that he was trying to warn the subway driver with his flashes and didn't have time to save Han. He'ss also trying to distance himself from the controversial cover, saying that he left his camera's memory card with editors at the Post after showing the photos to police officers, and wasn't part of the decision to publish the picture. "Every time I close my eyes, I see the image of death," he said. "I don't care about a photograph."

For the second straight day, Abbasi made the cover of the Post, but this time he's the story. In a firsthand account, he wrote, "I have to say I was surprised at the anger over the pictures, of the people who are saying: Why didn't he put the camera down and pull him out? But I can't let the armchair critics bother me. They were not there. They have no idea how very quickly it happened."

He goes so far as to put the blame on others: "The sad part is, there were people who were close to the victim, who watched and didn't do anything. You can see it in the pictures," Abassi said. "The truth is I could not reach that man; if I could have, I would have."




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whole story reminds me of this http://bloggnu1230.blogspot.com.es/2011/11/photojournalism-ethics-this-photo-was.html It is not mentioned in the post, but I believe the photographer was condemned there as well, for not rushing to the rescue. And for publishing the photos of course.

I believe here the photographer won't be able to help in any case. From the picture he took it looks like he was too far away. Personally, I am almost sure that I would automatically make a snap, probably a few, without engaging the brain at all. If he really was repeatedly firing the flash to attract attention of the train driver, kudos to him, I think I won't be able to do anything constructive at all in this situation. I just hope I never find myself in one.

What seems to be overlooked in this sad episode is that Ki Suk Han reportedly was drunk. Had he been sober he might have been able to climb back up onto the platform, or even run over to the other side of the tracks.

Hartmann and Coscarelli must know that R. Umar Abbasi is the current secret identity of Superman, and that he could easily have outrun a braking, but still speeding, subway train and rescued Han. The reason I believe that they know that Abbasi is actually Superman is that they used the line "[h]e goes so far as to put the blame on others...." If they didn't know that he was actually Superman, they would just be assholes for using that line, and would the editors of New York Magazine hire assholes to write for them?

That said, Superman was being a bit of a dolt if he actually thought that a camera's flash would alert a subway motorman to the presence on the track of a person the motorman undoubtedly already saw on the track in front of him. Superman would have done better to concentrate on getting photos of the guy who pushed Han onto the track. The New York Post could have published them with a headline like "Portrait of a Murderer!" and upheld their reputation for sensationalism, and without being utterly cruel and tasteless. But then why would the New York Post ever not be cruel and tasteless?*

*
Of course if the guy who pushed Han onto the track had been Rupert Murdoch the Post would have killed not only the photo but the whole story— and maybe the photographer as well. But that would have been a special case, having nothing to do with avoiding cruelty and tastelessness.

I think someone could be an editor for a certain NYC tabloid...

I don't know if the photog had time or not. I don't know if he was close enough or not. But I do know that taking the photos was certainly borderline tacky, but then splashing them across the front page of a tabloid that people the world over could see is especially ridiculous.

This is what happens when earning money is given the paramount level of importance. You have people who would rather take a picture of someone about to die than to save them. With a picture, you have tangible evidence. With a rescue, you might not even get a thank you.


We still need each other.

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