London Is Burning – To Shoot or Not to Shoot

by Amy Weston/Wenn.com via NY Mag

To borrow a line from The Clash, “London’s burning”. And the photographs of the mayhem are stunning. The above shot here is by Amy Weston/WENN.com, as seen in NY Mag. (That image and a bunch more images from NY Mag here).

I’ve been been near riots of this magnitude on two occasions – Paris in 2005-6 and Seattle WTO riots – neither of which I photographed. I’ve also seen a guy get hit by a car and had my camera at the ready but did not shoot. And plenty of other things that I’ve not wanted to photograph. As a pure photographer, only-career-I’ve-ever-had guy, I’m not sure what’s in me that doesn’t pull me to want to shoot so many of these photos, even when I’ve had the chance (like this post). I’m deeply moved by such images -ala London riots, or trama, or the war in Afghanistan. Often times these images are so important to our culture, but at other times it’s shallow and cold to shoot them. I’m especially conflicted with the images coming out of London.

How about you… When do we shoot? When do we help or decide not to spread the horror?

UPDATE: Interview with the photographer (Amy Weston) that captured the stunning photograph in the earlier post below in an article over here at my Google+ page …offers some insights into what she was thinking and plays well with the ongoing discussion here on the blog and over at my Google+ page. (Add me to a circle if you’re G+ing so I can meet you too).

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