Monday, August 29, 2011
Water under the bridge
The photo grabs you as it seems to explode from the front page of this morning's Daily Hampshire Gazette, clearly illustrating the potential power of water gone wild--more so than a skilled writer could accomplish in 1,000 words.
Kudos to ace photographer Carol Lollis; a raspberry to the editor who approved it.
It's one thing for a photographer to capture an extemporaneous scene involving a person thrust into a dramatic situation through no fault of their own. It's another case entirely when that person is showing off, or risking their life with reckless abandon (for all we know, because he spotted the photojournalist taking pictures.)
Six weeks ago three hikers hopped over a guardrail plastered with danger signs at Yosemite National Park to take dramatic action pictures of a raging waterfall. They got a little to close and cascaded to their deaths.
"Jackass: The Movie", where silly stunts take center stage, has enticed impressionable--usually young--viewers to attempt the same dangerous nonsense at home, in front of a camera, all too often with painful results. When the national press publishes a picture of President Obama smoking a cigarette or riding a bike without a helmet, people rightfully point out what a terrible example that sets.
While the Internet has greatly reduced the gatekeeper role of the mainstream media, a local hometown newspaper like the Daily Hampshire Gazette still has unique power when presenting the news. Hyping risky behavior can easily encourage copy cats who may not be so lucky next time.
And these days, the Gazette can't afford to lose any more readers.