Would I have taken this?

Wandering through my RSS feed full of people’s random Tumblr thingies, LiveJournal accounts, and the occasional actual blog, I happened across a photo:

Near as I can tell, it’s by Bolivar Arellano, who was covering a New York mayoral candidate that morning.

Arellano has, it would seem, a nearly perfect profile for a photographer working in the vicinity of ground zero that morning — he had experience working in war zones as a photographer. But the Big Bad Blog is introspective today; if you want to know about Arellano, you can read his account of things over at the Huffington Post.

No. I had two thoughts when I saw this photo:

a) This is an amazing photo.
b) I would never have taken this photo.

Not that it is technically beyond my means, but my limited experience of being faced with (far less drastic) emergency situations leaves me without the ability to fathom being the person who pulls out their camera and documents it.

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

One part of me — the dominant part, I suppose — cannot help but think that there are two things to do in a disaster situation: you can do everything you can to help, or get out of the way so that those people who are better prepared to help can do their thing unimpeded.

Another part of me loves photography, and thinks the “take action” part of me misses many photo opportunities. If I waited a minute, and took photographs of things as they happen, I’d have photos other than Maggie-A-Day to share with the world. And the Maggie-A-Day would be better for it, too.

But that’s not me. When the moment strikes, I can put myself in the middle of it or I can get out of the way. The part of me that thinks to document it — I guess he usually sleeps in.

It seems that my photography instincts have a weakness, after all.