Wednesday, October 12, 2005

When technology becomes greater than the price of life?

I suppose most people know about the rule of interfering with nature on the Discovery Channel, that to participate in any way, shape or form in the environment or ecosystem is to subvert the natural process, that it's natural selection and we have no right to interfere. It's mainly taken from a journalist/photojournalist perspective, that they are there only as observers of nature to report it to the world. Millions can sit and watch a young Springbok being hunted by a group of Tigers, see the fear and struggle of it's resistance then eventual demise and not blink an eye. Technological inventions such as the camera have created these rules that has, over time, desensitized us to these events.

But what happens when it's not a Springbok being hunted, but a human? What happens when the picture is deemed more worthy than the price of life itself? Has technology desensitisation advanced so far that even when a human life is on the line, we shouldn't interfere, and are there only as passive observers? Where is the line drawn on these moral issues?

Example 1:
Photographer, Kevin Carter, takes a (pultizer prize winning) photograph of a young Sudanese famine victim crawling towards a UN food shelter, behind her is a vulture waiting for her to die.

This photograph was published around the world to epitomise the extent of the Sudanese famine.

Reaction to this photograph was so strong that the NY Times published an editorial about the fate of the girl and Manic Street Preachers even wrote a song about Kevin Carter, who committed suicide 3 months after receiving the award.

(Photo links to a bigger picture)

Example 2:
Picture power: Tragedy of Omayra Sanchez
Basic story behind the photo:"Omayra was caught in a mud flow that contained a hardening substance that quickly cooled into a rock-like substance sealing in her body up to her shoulders, and her hands. She could not move, deficate, or hardly breathe, and died slowly"

In the article it says that people were appalled because "technology had been able to capture her image for all time and transmit it around the globe, but was unable to save her life. " You could argue that she simply could not be saved at all, but I find the above quote interesting, we may have made such technological advancements in society today, abling to transmit this picture instantaneously around the entire world, yet could not save her at all?


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