Ohio University Masters Candidate And Freelance Photojournalist Captures Stunning Domestic Violence On Camera

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Eventually, the police arrived. I was fortunate that the responding officers were well educated on First Amendment laws and did not try to stop me from taking pictures.

The incident raised a number of ethical questions. I’ve been castigated by a number of anonymous internet commenters who have said that I should have somehow physically intervened between the two. Their criticism counters what actual law enforcement officers have told me — that physically intervening would have likely only made the situation worse, endangering me, and further endangering Maggie.

via Photographer as Witness: A Portrait of Domestic Violence – LightBox.

There Are 4 Comments On This Article.

  1. Tom- I know that this project and the pictures in it dredge up the full spectrum of visceral reactions. You’re absolutely within your right to dislike it, but I would like to point out that the photographer did not begin this project as a domestic violence story- it just happened one night while she was documenting a different thread and she happened to be there as it unfolded. It’s an exceedingly rare glimpse into a nightmare that happens behind closed doors, and the publication of this story on LightBox coincides (not coincidentally) with the debate over the Violence Against Women Act in Congress. This story, with the attention it is receiving, has the potential to influence policy and improve lives. When you call this project “reality photojournalism” I assume you are conflating what documentary photographers do with what scripted reality tv shows purport to portray- but I think nothing could be further from the truth. This is not being shown to entertain the masses, this is being shown to educate, and yes- perhaps influence an outcome that benefits both Maggie and other victims of domestic violence in America.

  2. The criticism reminds me of the criticism of photographers of war crimes – “how could you not intervene?” Not realizing that photographers don’t carry weapons because to do so in a war zone would be suicide.

    The world isn’t like a movie where when an outsider steps in, everything turns out ok and they are a hero. In reality people will get hurt or killed when they intervene in these situations.

  3. “…but I would like to point out that the photographer did not begin this project as a domestic violence story- it just happened one night while she was documenting a different thread and she happened to be there as it unfolded.”

    Which is exactly what happened in the case of photojournalist, Donna Ferrato, thus, resulting in her ground-breaking essay/book, “Living With The Enemy” http://nyti.ms/14lEvsK