Last year, as I was driving to work from Meadville through Franklin, I saw a man with an interesting hat thumbing a ride. I thought a few things, one of which is, I bet this man has a story.
Which I’m sure he does, but I couldn’t really get it out of him.
He really didn’t want to talk about himself, he was fixated on getting to the Salvation Army in time to get a meal and he was running late.
As he tried repeatedly to ask for a ride and was rejected, I decided it was better for me to help him get to where he was going and to insure he got a meal that day, than it was for me to get his story for the newspaper and not help him get there.
It’s an ethical gray area — when do you stay separated as an observer and when to you get involved and help someone? Since he wasn’t truly interested in telling his story and I had decided to help him get where he needed, I decided to only use the pictures I took as a personal blog item and not as a news item. This way I could tell a piece of his story without the ethical question of running that fine line of what is news and what is something I affected by my presence?
And I could use it to teach the public about some of the things we have to consider as we do our job, even if they seem trivial to those not in the business.
As I worked on editing those photos last year I somehow just couldn’t get Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm” out of my head, so I coupled his lyrics with the pictures on my blog.