I’m used to shooting happy photos. Babies laughing, families smiling, children playing – that sort of thing. Maybe that is why I’m so intrigued by the photos of the Boston bombings. It’s the total opposite. From a photographer’s perspective, I have so many questions: Could I have shot under these circumstances, Would I have shot in this situation? Is it photojournalism, or exploitation?
I’ve debated both sides the past couple of days, and I’ve realized that while these photos are gruesome and hard to stomach, they also serve a purpose. Without photos like these, we would be more likely to only hear the horrible stories of lives and limbs lost. We might not see the bystanders, normal people like you and me, who rushed to aid the wounded, used their scarves, the shirts off their backs, to help a complete stranger. How would we know people like Carlos Arredondos, who lost a son to a similar explosion in Afghanistan? No one would have faulted him, if he had turned and ran away. Instead, he rushed to a young man who was lying on the ground, gravely injured, and he helped save his life. How would we know the swiftness of the first responders, charging bravely into what looked like a war zone? Perfect strangers, risking their safety, for someone they had never even met. So while the images vividly depict the violence carried out by one, or a few individuals, they also remind us that we as a people, are inherently good.
And that gives me hope.
Bill Greene/Globe Staff