Thursday, July 3, 2008

The world we live in

I was taken to task again today over one of my photos appearing online. It appears that a couple of people are upset over the picture of blood splatter on a sidewalk from a stabbing earlier today on East Street. One commenter said, “C'mon Tracy Press, do we really need to see the blood? Report the story, don't dramatize it with graphic photos. Grade: F” Another said, “I've got to agree with AverageJoe. Why not get a picture of some brains next time there is a car wreck? Anything for a vicarious thrill. Come on TP, whoever this person was, low-life or not, they've got to have a family. Would you want to log on and see your relatives blood smeared on the sidewalk?
Oh man, give me a break.

Forget that someone was stabbed in the stomach during a fight. Forget that this is the third act of violence this week and the vast majority of what I have shot this week has been some form of mayhem including two gang related shootings. But whatever you do don’t show any blood.

I am amazed how boring this photo is and yet it received angry responses. I was photographing in the Altamont pass when the stabbing happened so the victim was long gone. Police were wrapping up their evidence gathering so photo opportunities were slim. There was a shirt on the ground, crime scene markers and yes there was blood.

Golly, imagine that, blood at a stabbing scene who would have thought? What do you expect to see at a crime scene, confetti? I always find it funny when people who most likely have never been to any kind of crime scene wince and beat their chest at the cruelty of a photo showing blood. My photos of a crime scene only capture a thin slice, a glimmer of what the scene looks like. They never capture the sounds, the smells the overall pandemonium of a crime scene. And in all the confusion I capture a moment of the crime's aftermath a small portion of the pain and anger that was there. The editor looked at this picture and shrugged it off saying it just looked like oil stains on the pavement.

I was asked why don’t we take a picture of the brains on the roadway at an accident scene? Been there done that at a gruesome 11th Street and Lammers Road accident years ago. Little pieces of brain and blood covered the road in the days before a signal light slowed some of the troubles at that intersection. Did the photo run? No but I have seen worse run in papers that cover our town.

For a true stomach churning experience thumb through the Associated Press wire photo selection. My bloody sidewalk wouldn’t have even garnered a graphic content warning. Images of shooting, bombings and the general violence man inflicts on his fellow man are chronicled in living color. Some of the images that come across the wire service I find troubling, some I have a hard time viewing but they all have a story, important stories that tell us about the world we live in as did the bloody sidewalk photo from this afternoon.

Do I regret taking the picture? Not at all. For those who still think that violence in our town is not a major issue wake up and take a good long look at that photo you find offensive. Yes that is someone’s blood on the ground and they probably do have relatives. Maybe this photo will help the whole violence in our town is a bad thing concept sink in.

We aren’t living in Mayberry any more folks. Bad things are happening all over town. Some of the things going on are awful, terrible things that most people turn away from. Take a long look at the photo, That's blood on the sidewalk. That is the world we live in. It is not an exaggeration, it is not exploitation. It is a picture of a Tracy sidewalk on a Thursday afternoon.


Safari Mom said...

Thanks Glenn you are right and this picture tells us a story that we don't want to hear but Tracy is in trouble and we need to get the message. There are gangs out there killing each other when are they going to kill someone who is an innocent bystander?

thanks for you comments

Laura said...

you're right...this aint mayberry anymore. it is sad and it is shocking.
still i am thankful that the Tracy Press covered my brother in law's funeral and all who came to honor him 4 years ago rather than his blood spilled on a sidewalk when some thug gunned him down and severed his abdominal aorta.
i imagine it is a very fine line you walk during interesting times like these. i can honestly say that i am glad that i don't walk in your shoes.
my prayers will be for the victim's family today.

Dr. Mike McLellan said...

safari mom and I have had those weeks were every time things settle down a new emergency comes up. You have to be battle weary from all that you have had to cover this last week or so.

We do not like the message, (sorry about other folks' potshots at the messanger) but your photos tell us a truth some do not want to hear.

People --even in Oz-- do terrible things to one another. Your truth-telling reminds us of that.

Thank you for the long hours and love of your job.