Quo Vadis Documentary Photography

Some time ago I read Susan Sontag’s ‘Regarding the Pain of Others’ . Since then I have thought a lot about her premise which is that documentary photography of human suffering is exploitative. The book has certainly influenced my choice of photographic subject….I no longer home in on odd-looking people, people in trouble or  ‘Bowery Bum’ types in my street photography… Beyond that I had retained an open mind…that is until I unearthed this photograph which shows photographers crowding around the dead body of a girl in Haiti who had been shot by the police for looting…..I am ashamed to call myself a photographer…

15-year-old Fabienne Cherisma, who was shot and killed by police in Haiti after looting two plastic chairs and three framed pictures ( photograph by Nathan Weber)

What particularly brought this issue to the foreground was the fact that a photograph of the dead Cherisma was awarded the Best International News image at the Swedish Picture of the Year Awards!!!