British newspaper “The Sunday Times” discourages freelance photographer’s attempt to submit war images from Syria, due to the high risk involved in making them.
After war photographer Goran Tomasevic published a series of images caught during deadly fighting in Damascus in January 30, 2013, another photographer decides to submit his captions during Syrian conflict, but receives a firm “No” from British newspaper The Sunday Times.
Higher risk for freelance photographers
Although 28 year old British photographer Rick Findler has made past collaborations with the largest-selling British Sunday newspaper, the publication did not accept his latest set of photos. Their explanation is that this would only encourage freelance photographers to risk their lives in documenting such conflicts.
This fear involving freelancers is justified, according to the publication, by the question of responsibility that is raised in case of kidnapping. If a photojournalist who represents a certain publication is sent to immortalize war scenes, the referred to newspaper takes into consideration the risk of the photographer being kidnapped. In this case, they are aware of the full responsibility that they have in paying the ransom and getting the photojournalist out. And the probability of such an event taking place is quite high, since many rebel groups see Western journalists as possible hostages, with the purpose of receiving a considerable amount of money in exchange for their release. If a freelance journalist finds himself in front of such a delicate situation, there is nobody responsible for his safety, and The Sunday Times seeks to avoid such incidents. Also, by choosing to publish such images, the newspaper would encourage freelance photographers to go back and take even more dangerous shots of equally dangerous events.
Motives questioned by the British photographer
As a response to this rejection, Findler argues that it is every photographer’s decision to put himself in such danger. Moreover, he states that a large part of photojournalism is based precisely on the decision to take risks in order to give viewers close insights into important events around the world.
Safety should not be an issue, according to the photographer, who declares himself deeply disappointed by the Sunday Times decision.