"Nicholas Neville, 7, shields his face in an act of embarrassment from the camera before rapidly changing his mind, as he plays in leaves in Whiteford, Md., Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010."
I've been trying to meet up with friend's and family before heading back to Utah on Monday.
Yesterday was no exception as I ventured up north to K's sister's house for dinner. I was early, so I spent 20 minutes hanging out with her nephew, Nicholas, who at the time was playing in the leaves with his bike.
It's funny how a seven-year-old's personality can change in a heartbeat. The minute I walked up he wanted nothing to do with me making pictures of him. But almost instantly, he was all about posing and acting goofy
. He wanted nothing more than to be showered by the attention of my lens.
During editing of the take, the above picture reminded me of an image I took last year
of a kid a moment after he crashed his bicycle. It's almost scary how familiar these two pictures are. The above being a reaction to my camera - shielding of the face in act of embarrassment - while the latter was another spontaneous moment where pain following a crash was the focus of the picture.
The two pictures got me thinking about our presence as photographers during assignments. Obviously the above was a reaction to my presence, which I guess you can say, I influenced the reaction. But for the latter, would the kid have continued to jump his bike if I wasn't there? What if I wasn't shooting pictures at the time, would he had landed it? Would he have covered his face during the crash if I wasn't there?
At what point do we change what happens simply by being there as a documenter of the scene?
As my friend Monica
said, we are apart of these moments, but have some say in how much we are, our approach and actions can dictate that. And when we feel the action has been done solely for our sake in an image, then it's left on the cutting room floor.
It's something to think about. There are many variables and the topic can be discussed to no end in my opinion. In the meantime, we as photojournalists continue uphold strong ethics and continually police ourselves. But that shouldn't stop us from still taking pictures of moments that happen, whether they're publishable or not in the newspaper world.