Saturday, December 8, 2012

Choices That Define Us

I have learned that life has a lot to do with making choices.  Throughout life we make good choices and bad choices.  Each choice we make have consequences we must live with.  Recently, on the front page of a New York newspaper there was a photograph of a person who had fallen to the subway tracks as a train bared down just before the train hit and killed him.  The photographer made a choice when he took the series of photographs of the individual's struggle to get out of the train's way.  In the instance of a camera click the photographer made the choice to capture the moment a life was taken rather than trying to help save that life.  In no more than the moment of a click of the camera shutter the photographer gave more value to a photograph than a life.

For over forty years I have endeavored to capture that special moment in a  photograph. When I saw the photograph of the person right before the train hit and killed him it made me think.  What choice would I make?  Would I had opted for capturing the moment in a photograph, or would I had done everything in my power to save a life?  The answer for me is easy - the newspaper would have had to run a different story or maybe the story of how a photographer tried to save a life instead of capturing the moment a life was lost.  I would have made my choice, whether right or wrong, knowing I could not have lived with the consequence of knowing I done nothing to try and save a life.

The choices we make define who we are.  It makes me wonder if the roles were changed would the photographer wanted the individual to take the picture or try to help save him from the approaching train.  I live by the rule my parents taught me - treat others in the same way you want to be treated which makes all my choices much easier to make.  When dealing with people you have a choice that only you can make.  You can choose to treat people the way you want to be treated or you can choose to photograph the moment a life is taken by an approaching train.