In Times of Devastation, When Are Too Many Photographers Too Many?

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This is not a new thought, but with devastating events happen, like Katrina or Indonesia or, most recently Haiti, we’ve always been a little uncomfortable with the seemingly endless photos and video of the suffering. Certainly we understand the importance, to show the realities on the ground, but there’s that discomfort in knowing that a photo didn’t just take itself, that there were likely dozens of shooters all vying for that perfect bit of pain. Patrick Witty has filed a great report on the increasingly excellent NY Times Lens blog, “Too Many Angles on Suffering?” which addresses just that: how many photographers are too many? And, more specifically, are there too many in Haiti right now? It’s not a long essay, and it doesn’t even begin to answer a largely rhetorical question, but it’s some great thinking, and the shots they’ve selected to illustrate both the number of shooters and how each sees one specific subject, is just brilliant, if not extremely uncomfortable.