Back in March there was a heated debate about this photo taken of 15-year-old Fabienne Cherisma, who was shot and killed by police after stealing two two plastic chairs and three framed pictures. It reminded me much about my recent blog post about Ethics and Street Photography.
In March 2010, Hansen discussed the image and circumstances of Fabienne’s death stating, “For me, Fabienne’s death and her story is a poignant reminder of the need for a society to have basic security – with or without a disaster.”
Looking at the image above, it is a very emotional image that does bring great amounts of awareness to this horrible issue. However when looking at the photo below shot by photographer Nathan Weber, I feel that the story changes. Rather than having the image being a positive political tool, it looks like the photographers below are more like vultures– all trying to get the best version of the image and exploiting this horrible crime.
It is crushing to see how emotionally detached these photographers can be when shooting the image by checking their LCD screens in a casual way (edit: I mistook a photographer checking his settings for viewing his LCD). Although I do highly respect that the hard work and sacrifice that photo journalists go through, this image above personally jarred me.
So what do you think, do you think this image is ethical? What is your take about the job of photojournalists and having to capture scenes like this? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.
In the comments photographer Chad Pister mentioned this article which showed the dead body of Fabienne Cherisma in a different position which appeared in The Guardian. In the shot by Carlos Garcia Rawlins, it shows Fabienne’s arm positioned differently while showing an image of a flower when compared to the shot by Paul Hansen. If you happen to know the true story of what happened, please leave a comment below.
Prison Photography has some more answers about the following event here.