Jim Colburn - Don't Ask



Emotions come in many different forms. Some, like the pumped arm after a bowled strike or the raised middle finger to another driver, come and go quickly. Some, like the sadness of a failed marriage or the joy of parenthood, take a long time to accept and seem to last forever. Some, like the first cover or double-truck in a major magazine, are very personal and somewhat selfish. Others are communal and to be shared.

The recent events in New York and Washington have brought forward emotions that many people didn't know they were capable of. Rage. Fear. Compassion. Love. One emotion that I've never felt before, in the "communal" sense, is pride. The pride of being involved in journalism in general and photojournalism in particular.

The pictures that have been published of the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center have shown the world what happened in a way that words could never do. The idea that "a picture is worth a thousand words" has never been more true and may have underestimated things by a factor of a hundred or more. The words "the World Trade Center in New York has been destroyed" pale in comparison to the images of destruction and chaos that have been seen around the world. The scope of the destruction is only realized with the images of the event and the aftermath. Likewise the courage of firemen, policemen, volunteer rescuers and others is shown to be beyond anything imaginable only when the things they do and the places they're working are seen.

The compassion that people have for one another, shown in pictures of blood drives and hospital volunteers are understood better through pictures. And the solidarity and support of people around the world are only capable of being really accepted when you can see photographs of those "moments of silence" from cities you've only read about and from countries you may have thought were your enemies.Tragedy has been raised to the level of art and some of the photographs that have been taken in the last few weeks will go down in history as classics. Classics not only for those of us involved in photography but to everyone that can see.

I'm so damn proud of everyone involved, the photographers that take the pictures, the editors that find a gem and rush it into print, the couriers that run film and flash cards back to the bureau and the folks at the traffic desk that log in the film an make sure that pictures get credited correctly, that sometimes it chokes me up.

And I've never had that happen before.

Jim Colburn
Contributing Writer

Write a Letter to the Editor
Join our Mailing List
© The Digital Journalist