On photographing tragedy

Jordan Stead, a photojournalist with SeattlePI.com, wrote Monday in PetaPixel about photographing the Oso mudslide in Washington.

The photographs I made while covering the Oso tragedy are not for me. They weren’t made for my portfolio, to win awards or to sensationalize. Those first two days, I made pictures with an effort to humanize the victims of the tragedy — not to belabor the damage or to scoop other news outlets.

For green photojournalists, the 'opportunity' of a disaster like the mudslide may appear exciting, posing as a chance to make that iconic picture we all strive for. While the visuals may be awe-inspiring, a place like the Oso debris field is far from a journalistic proving ground. Citizens of the community will go on living, long after the news trucks and cameras have left the scene. They will live in the shadow of your coverage.


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