In James Thom’s extraordinary piece “The Perfect Picture” he writes about situations he was in at a one point of his life. He explains an experience he was in as a young police reporter and driving to a seen, where the grandfather back over this granddaughter. When he drives up he sees all the media and the police gather around the grandfather. The grandfather couldn’t even grasp the concept of what happened yet, before news reporters and photographers are invading his property, life and time with his family to grieve over his granddaughter.
When Thom sees the opportunity to snap the photo of the grandfather cradling the little girl, wrapped in a sheet, lying cold and lifeless in his arms. Thom has such a huge decision to make, and only a mere moment to decide on what he will do. Thom thinks about his career, for a brief second, and he almost pushes the shutter, the button that has the power to keep time standing still, for now and forever.
He has the power to expose the emotions and lives of people, including this family, that have to re-live these experiences for the rest of their life. He can see the joy on the faces of his executives, and the awards that would be engraved with his name. If pictures are worth a thousand words, then his “perfect picture” will be worth a million! Thom finally decides there is still no way to justify this intrusion of private family affairs. He shows courage in his decision and great confidence in his ability as a reporter.
James Thom is making the right decision in not taking the opportunity to snap the perfect photograph. In today’s society the media takes advantage of the common people, and profits from the world’s misfortunes. In the era this story is taking place, the media is no different. The media believes they have the right to intrude into people’s lives, take what they want, and assume no responsibility and reap no consequences for their actions. Newspapers, TV stations, and so forth, call this their right to free speech. Watching a reporter taking pictures, pushing shoving and crowding around the scene, is like watching a group of wild hyenas fighting each other for one piece of dead carcass.
On one side, there would be those that believe pictures, events, and the news, regardless of the subject matter are public property as long as it’s done in the name of media material. Reporters, journalist and photographers all fall into the same category. They are there to find the story, and if there is not a story present. They construct one to create intrigue for their customers. Most of the media is ruthless, cold and with hearts of stone. These beasts stop at nothing to get what they need to fulfill the greed in their soul.
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