Is this guy shady character or was he just doing his job?
R. Umar Abbasi was the photographer that captured the horrific moments after Ki Suk Han was pushed onto a NY subway track by a mentally unstable panhandler.
After his photos were released to the press, he received heavy criticism for getting behind the lens instead to helping the man off the tracks.
I was on an assignment, waiting for a train at the 49th Street subway platform, when I suddenly heard people gasping.
The announcement had come over the loudspeaker that the train was coming — and out of the periphery of my eye, I saw a body flying through the air and onto the track.
I just started running. I had my camera up — it wasn’t even set to the right settings — and I just kept shooting and flashing, hoping the train driver would see something and be able to stop.
I had no idea what I was shooting. I’m not even sure it was registering with me what was happening. I was just looking at that train coming.
It all went so quickly; from the time I heard the shouting until the time the train hit the man was about 22 seconds.
At the same time, the perp was running toward me. I was afraid he might push me onto the tracks.
The victim was so far away from me, I was already too far away to reach him when I started running.
The train hit the man before I could get to him, and nobody closer tried to pull him out.
Abbasi goes on to say:
It was one of the most horrible things I have ever seen, to watch that man dying there.
When it was over, I didn’t look at the pictures.
I didn’t even know at all that I had even captured the images in such detail. I didn’t look at them. I didn’t want to.
It was just too emotional a day.
I brought the camera memory card back to the office and turned it in. Two detectives came and looked at the photos and I just sat in a chair.
When I finally looked at them late that night, my heart started racing. It was terrible, seeing it happen all over again.
I didn’t sleep at all.
All I can hear is that man’s head against that train: Boom! Boom! Boom!
I have to say I was surprised at the anger over the pictures, of the people who are saying: Why didn’t he put the camera down and pull him out?
But I can’t let the armchair critics bother me. They were not there. They have no idea how very quickly it happened.
They do not know what they would have done.
He makes a good point, in the heat of the moment, can you REALLY say what you would have done under the same circumstances?
Was he wrong to pull out his camera? Many shutterbugs have to take graphic pictures of terrible things on a regular basis, why was this any different?
Image via NYPost