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Wes
6th of January 2008 (Sun), 22:10
Last night, while walking my dog around the block, came upon the police investigation into one of my neighbours killed in a traffic accident. Took Jake home and grabbed my camera and shot these. Sorry about the pic quality but they are straight out of the camera, no editing other than resizing, shot at ISO 1600 1/4 second hand held. The victim is under the orange EMS blanket, pronounced dead at the scene.

Brandon Anderson Photos
7th of January 2008 (Mon), 01:01
wow do you know what happend. im always scared to take photos like this

deadpass
7th of January 2008 (Mon), 01:07
that's crazy, i don't see any cops, just what looks to be an accident investigator. As for the pic, it's pretty much a snapshot and the white balance is off.

Anke
7th of January 2008 (Mon), 01:12
They wouldn't leave a body lying there would they, are you sure this isn't a replica for the purposes of the accident investigators phtoographs?

Skip Souza
7th of January 2008 (Mon), 01:31
It would be treated the same as any crime scene which means that all the evidence stays where it is until the investigating authorities say it can be moved. Remember we do not know what is outside the view of the camera. Could be all kinds of cops, EMS, fire. The deceased will probably stay there until the mortuary or whoever is authorized arrives and the body is released by the authorities.
Remember, you are not looking at a dead body. You are looking at an emergency blanket lying in the roadway that we have been told is covering a body.
Yes the white balance is off but I think it is pretty darn good for hand held at 1/4 second. PJ is much different in that you must shoot what is offered and the way it is presented. No staging.

Richtherookie
7th of January 2008 (Mon), 09:24
For sure treated as a crime sceen. For the conditions you had to shoot in i'd say ya did well. As for moving the body NO WAY. If this is my scene we don't so much as move a piece of glass lying on the ground. all of it is evidence.

In the second picture above the yellow bag it looks like a shopping cart or wheel chair may be there near the curb. Can't tell by the right front headlamp if there is damage. Any idea what really happened?? I mean the victim may have been on the ground (tipped over the in the wheelchair?) and the van may have run him over??

HarrisonClicks
7th of January 2008 (Mon), 10:24
Good photojournalism work. You are Ok in these photos, but for readers of this thread.....

Be careful posting shots like this for details such as license plates, pictures of suspects, pictures of victims, etc. I do not think its a HIPPA violation because you did not obtain the information first hand, but it is sensitive information.

In the United States, HIPPA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Its a privacy law statute. Bottom line is that EMS and firefighters cannot disclose ANY details of a patients health status, details of the patient, etc. So, if I am on a call, what I see, what I say, what I hear, etc. stays with me forever. If I took pictures on a call and disclosed any of the details, I could be in major hot water.

Does it apply if YOU take the pictures? I do not know. But I know this: If you capture a great image and there is any issue regarding privacy, i.e., a license plate, a face of the victim, etc., photoshop a blur at that detail on the image to be safe.

There was another thread recently of a pedestrian hit by a car and this entire Forum could see his face. I think that could be a problem both legally and morally.

As for your shots in this thread, I think you are fine. I cant read that plate on the car and the body is covered. Nonetheless, just food for thought for others reading my thoughts.



provider,

gecko3s
8th of January 2008 (Tue), 20:35
I don't think it would be a problem...TV news doesn't blur out the faces or license plates of people in public who happen to be in their shot...The only reason we don't see the news showing bloody people is because they don't get their fast enough or they have some sense of morality.

Wes
8th of January 2008 (Tue), 20:48
wow do you know what happend. im always scared to take photos like this
It was pretty weird, considering I knew the guy (by sight, anyway), but after talking to one of the guys from Global News I figured, this is what I want to do, so I should just do it.

Wes
8th of January 2008 (Tue), 20:56
that's crazy, i don't see any cops, just what looks to be an accident investigator. As for the pic, it's pretty much a snapshot and the white balance is off.

The accident investigator was a cop from 23 Division but because of the tape I couldn't get close enough to make that clear. Plus with the lens on the camera and lighting factors, not much choice but to get the shots I could.

Wes
8th of January 2008 (Tue), 20:57
They wouldn't leave a body lying there would they, are you sure this isn't a replica for the purposes of the accident investigators phtoographs?


Hi Anke,

Definitely the body.

W

Wes
8th of January 2008 (Tue), 21:13
Thanks for all the comments on these 2 photos. I know they were not my best, just something I could capture on the spur of the moment, given the circumstances that presented themselve. Just for the sake of comparison, I've attached one of the reject shots...same ISO, same shutter speed. This is why there are not more that I consider acceptable to post...the ones I posted are sheer luck that they turned out sharp enough to see.

Wes
8th of January 2008 (Tue), 21:20
For sure treated as a crime sceen. For the conditions you had to shoot in i'd say ya did well. As for moving the body NO WAY. If this is my scene we don't so much as move a piece of glass lying on the ground. all of it is evidence.

In the second picture above the yellow bag it looks like a shopping cart or wheel chair may be there near the curb. Can't tell by the right front headlamp if there is damage. Any idea what really happened?? I mean the victim may have been on the ground (tipped over the in the wheelchair?) and the van may have run him over??

He was moving some stuff into his own vehicle, which was parked further down the street. In pic 2 you can see a 2-wheel dolley crashed over by the curb. All the stuff strewn across the street was on the dolley as he backed off the boulevard into the street, and then got hit.

Wes
8th of January 2008 (Tue), 21:37
that's crazy, i don't see any cops, just what looks to be an accident investigator. As for the pic, it's pretty much a snapshot and the white balance is off.


Thanks for the comment, Deadpass...not to be a prick, but I looked through your latest thread-starts, and had to go through 9 before I found where I found any pics of yours, and then they had been removed, so I couldn't comment on the white balance there. Maybe next time.

Wes Shepherd
wesshepherd@rogers.com

gecko3s
11th of January 2008 (Fri), 14:04
They wouldn't leave a body lying there would they, are you sure this isn't a replica for the purposes of the accident investigators phtoographs?


Its probably not there for the purposes of the accident inv. photos. The victim was probably already deceased when ems arrived, which means they aren't going to take him with them.

And being that (at least in Florida, and I'm sure elsewhere) its against the law to move a dead body without the medical examiner/representative present, that's probably what theyre waiting on.

It certainly does help in the investigation though, having the victim still there.

TeeTee
11th of January 2008 (Fri), 15:28
Since you need 'credit' to post constructive criticism I guess I'll say it.

Your white balance is off, shots are underexposed, and composition is fairly bland. Great job taking the initiative to be at the right place at the right time. though.

And that was a fairly prickly thing of you to say. Great photographers don't have to be great forum-posters.

Thanks for the comment, Deadpass...not to be a prick, but I looked through your latest thread-starts, and had to go through 9 before I found where I found any pics of yours, and then they had been removed, so I couldn't comment on the white balance there. Maybe next time.

Wes Shepherd
wesshepherd@rogers.com

Wes
11th of January 2008 (Fri), 22:14
Since you need 'credit' to post constructive criticism I guess I'll say it.

Your white balance is off, shots are underexposed, and composition is fairly bland. Great job taking the initiative to be at the right place at the right time. though.

And that was a fairly prickly thing of you to say. Great photographers don't have to be great forum-posters.

Hi TeeTee...right from the first post I apologized for the picture quality...there was never any illusion in my mind that these were award winning shots...they just are what they are.

Woolburr
11th of January 2008 (Fri), 22:32
Good photojournalism work. You are Ok in these photos, but for readers of this thread.....

Be careful posting shots like this for details such as license plates, pictures of suspects, pictures of victims, etc. I do not think its a HIPPA violation because you did not obtain the information first hand, but it is sensitive information.

In the United States, HIPPA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Its a privacy law statute. Bottom line is that EMS and firefighters cannot disclose ANY details of a patients health status, details of the patient, etc. So, if I am on a call, what I see, what I say, what I hear, etc. stays with me forever. If I took pictures on a call and disclosed any of the details, I could be in major hot water.

Does it apply if YOU take the pictures? I do not know. But I know this: If you capture a great image and there is any issue regarding privacy, i.e., a license plate, a face of the victim, etc., photoshop a blur at that detail on the image to be safe.

There was another thread recently of a pedestrian hit by a car and this entire Forum could see his face. I think that could be a problem both legally and morally.

As for your shots in this thread, I think you are fine. I cant read that plate on the car and the body is covered. Nonetheless, just food for thought for others reading my thoughts.



provider,

HIPPA applies to the medical profession. As a private citizen, you are not covered by the statute.

airfrogusmc
11th of January 2008 (Fri), 22:34
And its Canada, right? I thought HIPPA was only in the US...

HarrisonClicks
12th of January 2008 (Sat), 09:51
HIPPA applies to the medical profession. As a private citizen, you are not covered by the statute.

With due respect, you are 100% incorrect, sir. It depends. However, you are probably correct that a pure private citizen taking a picture should be ok. But not all posters of images are purely private citizens - some are in the quasi-medical profession such as firefighters, etc.

Richtherookie
15th of January 2008 (Tue), 09:13
I would think as long as the victum could not be ID you'd be OK. But as far as HIPA goes, I go to the call and keep my mouth shut. Don't really know the laws about photography and HIPPA. But we could debait this all year couldn't we?

Wes
23rd of January 2008 (Wed), 21:19
I'd like to thank every single poster who uttered a comment on these poor shots, whether about their technical worth, my prowess, or was that really a body? I've been in this forum for a couple of years and never had this many people this interested in even what I considered were my good shots (which these weren't).

Stay tuned, as I try to figure out the codes buzzing across my not-very-legal police wavelength scanner.

Wes

HarleyQuinn
23rd of January 2008 (Wed), 21:59
Spooky. Congrats on being brave enough to photo that.

(Ghosts like electrical conduits and I'm not sure my insurance would cover a haunted camera.)

emtp563
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 11:39
Nice candid shot. You were lucky to be there and have your camera with you. Ignore what some of the other people in this forum are saying. They clearly know nothing about HIPPA or any other privacy laws.

Wes
31st of January 2008 (Thu), 21:16
Again, thanks to everyone who posted on what are definitely not my by shots. But now time for a naieve question...isn't the whole privacy consideration thing up to the editorial purchaser of the shots? I tried to sell these to 3 papers the night it happened, with no offers, and while I was aware that license plates, likenesses, etc. are subject to privacy laws, I'm also very aware that if the shot is good enough, the publisher will buy it and take care of privacy issues on their end.

Am I wrong in that belief?

emtp563
1st of February 2008 (Fri), 06:40
Dude, you are not subject to any privacy laws in regards to these pictures. Trust me, I work in the field and deal with HIPPA every day. HIPPA ONLY CONCERNS HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND HEALTH INSURERS (ie hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, nurses, EMT's, Paramedics, etc).

1.) You are not subject to HIPPA. You are a private citizen with a camera. You do not work for the medical establishment and therefore do not fall under the jurisdiction of HIPPA. If you are a firefighter/EMT/PD, then that's a different story. EMS falls under HIPPA and the FD/PD has their own policies regarding suspect/victim privacy. What is in public view is fair game for anyone with a camera. The only restrictions to that would be photographing what the government would deem sensitive to national security.

2.) The paper might not have bought the photo because it might be deemed in poor taste to publish photos like these on the front page of the paper.

3.) The quality of the photos are not that good to begin with. You have to consider how it will look in print. Newspaper printing degrades the quality of the photo quite a bit.

Wes
2nd of February 2008 (Sat), 23:32
3.) The quality of the photos are not that good to begin with. You have to consider how it will look in print. Newspaper printing degrades the quality of the photo quite a bit.[/quote]


Thanks for the comments, which can be read in their entirity in your original message, but I wanted to reprint this one here, because it's what I've been saying since the beginning...the shots weren't very good! They were the best I could do under the circumstances, but by no means were they anything I would put in my portfolio to say "look at my best work".

I'm sure with some hours of processing, maybe a BW conversion, they could be Pulitzer material...but guys...I just went back to the scene and shot what I could...you're lucky I saved your eyeballs the distress of having to look at the other 20+ shots that were total crap and out of focus to boot.

kato1
3rd of February 2008 (Sun), 17:49
I work as a police officer in the UK and I am a forensic collision investigator.
As such I do have concerns about photos taken of accident scenes like this.
Mainly in that it can cause undue distress to relatives who may stumble upon them on websites like this and the internet in general.

I have had people trying to get close enough to crashed vehicles to photograph deceased occupants whose heads have been split open with their brains hanging out, and I'm not talking about journalists either. Why?

I've been involved in collision investigation for over 17 years and I still find road death a sad, tragic and often an unecessary loss of life. It needs to be handled with dignity and consideration, as well the professionalism to obtain all available evidence to secure a prosecution.

Sorry if I'm venting, but this is a subject close to my heart.

Wes
5th of February 2008 (Tue), 21:20
I work as a police officer in the UK and I am a forensic collision investigator.
As such I do have concerns about photos taken of accident scenes like this.
Mainly in that it can cause undue distress to relatives who may stumble upon them on websites like this and the internet in general.

I have had people trying to get close enough to crashed vehicles to photograph deceased occupants whose heads have been split open with their brains hanging out, and I'm not talking about journalists either. Why?

I've been involved in collision investigation for over 17 years and I still find road death a sad, tragic and often an unecessary loss of life. It needs to be handled with dignity and consideration, as well the professionalism to obtain all available evidence to secure a prosecution.

Sorry if I'm venting, but this is a subject close to my heart.

Kato,

Don't mind you venting at all, in fact I share a few of your sentiments. Years ago, when I was a kid and got my first camera, a friend of mine was the city editor of the Toronto Sun and gave me some tips on getting published. Needless to say I chased every ambulance, cruiser and fire truck with lights flashing, but once at the scene couldn't shoot the pictures because of the intrusion.

That could be why, in later years, I qualified in emergency rescue and got ready to be on the other side of the scenario.

But I'm also a photographer. I knew the old gentleman who died in this accident, by sight, and to nod hello to. There was no ghoulish intent, but to not have shot it would have betrayed my own photographic instincts, my ambitions as a freelancer and my aim to tell a story with my pictures.

HarrisonClicks
7th of February 2008 (Thu), 18:31
I actually believe the photographs stimulated a good healthy discussion on the issue of these types of photographs. And since the photographs stimulated discussion, as like any other photographic 'art', the thread is, for lack of a better word, legitimate.

<AkulA>
7th of February 2008 (Thu), 18:48
Wes, I agree with you on being torn between the 2. On one hand you want to give the people (dead victim, and living family and relatives) the space and respect most people give them.

As photographers, especially photojournalists - we have a duty to do what we do, but to do so in good taste (usually). We take the photos, so that others can see through us, through our lens - and hopefully gain an insight into the situation.

Personally, I feel that if my photo effects even one person positively, it makes it all worth it. Many times in situations like these, a photo of a dead, injured, or distraught person can make your viewers think more thoroughly about something. A stirring image goes a lot further in making the viewer feel the tragedy than any article or words ever could.

eddiebrown
8th of February 2008 (Fri), 04:33
Wes, I agree with you on being torn between the 2. On one hand you want to give the people (dead victim, and living family and relatives) the space and respect most people give them.

As photographers, especially photojournalists - we have a duty to do what we do, but to do so in good taste (usually). We take the photos, so that others can see through us, through our lens - and hopefully gain an insight into the situation.

Personally, I feel that if my photo effects even one person positively, it makes it all worth it. Many times in situations like these, a photo of a dead, injured, or distraught person can make your viewers think more thoroughly about something. A stirring image goes a lot further in making the viewer feel the tragedy than any article or words ever could.


well said . i agree 100% .

LW Dail
8th of February 2008 (Fri), 07:26
I have been out shooting and stumbled onto accidents, house fires, and other atypical incidents.

I have shot the incidents, much to my husbands chagrin. Always with respect, and staying out of the way of the professionals.

I have provided the images to our local paper along with a write up and they have used them with my blessing and for no compensation. Do get bylines! note: we're in a rural area of Oklahoma!

So yes, shooting an accident is practice. It's a learning opportunity. Trying to compose an interesting shot, under difficult conditions, that will look good in print/online under stressful conditions is difficult and an art.

Kudos to Wes for being in the right place, trying to shoot a difficult scene.

None of us will ever improve if we don't first try.