Friday, November 21, 2008

A Fiery Collision

Driving back to the office from an assignment that fell through, I saw a billow of smoke rise off of the side of the road about a mile ahead of me. Traffic slowed down and I tried to maneuver to see what was happening, but when that didn't work I put a call in to my boss to see if he had heard anything about it. He informed me that it was a big accident and that I needed to get to the front of the traffic by driving on the shoulder with my hazards on. I was afraid of getting in trouble, but he assured me I wouldn't so I did as I was told.

The cop that was re-directing traffic let me through and once I parked everything became a huge blur. I literally walked onto the scene without anybody noticing me. The car that had erupted into flames was under control and this point, the other car was completely totaled and a body lay on the street covered in a white sheet. After a few minutes I was approached by a police man who told me that I couldn't be there. I told him that this was my first accident (which it was), that I didn't know how this whole thing worked (which I didn't), and that I was the intern. At that he told me that if I had gotten some photos I would now have to wait on the perimeter and that somebody would be with the media in a little while. It didn't matter though, I already had the shots I needed.

Although the accident was really intense, seeing it all wasn't what bothered me. The strange thing about taking pictures of something tragic like this is that sometimes everything can seem so fake. There is something about looking through a view finder in a camera that takes me away from reality and drops me into a movie set. I'm not sure how I feel exactly about this, but I know that in a sense it bothers me that I am not bothered by what I saw. Maybe I haven't had the time to process anything or maybe that is just an effect of photojournalism. Either way it makes me think about the work that I do and the attachment I have to the pictures I make.

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Firefighters extinguish a car fire following a fatal traffic accident on U.S. Highway 287 south of Plateau Road in Longmont on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008.

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1 comment:

Joshua Duplechian said...

Morgan-Really nice job at covering a tough situation. I like the fact that these have a different feel to them rather than the norm where the police block us off so we all have the same take on what the accident looks like. I still hate these situations but it's completely necessary sometimes. Keep up all the nice work. Any plans yet for after the internship?