Journalistic Intent When Photographing Serious Injury

Instead of taking the time to put together a game gallery for last night's Flyers game, I've decided to make a blog post related to journalistic intent in regards to photographing injury.

Flyers players and fans watch Alexander Edler being stretchered off the ice. Most in silence, some players clapping their sticks against the ice in recognition.

As some of you may know, last night Alexander Edler of the Vancouver Canucks sustained a nasty facial injury during the third period of last night's game against the Flyers. His injury rendered him unconscious at first, but he eventually came to, surrounded my players and trainers from both teams.

The moment Alexander Edler's face hit the ice and moments later him laying unconscious by the net.

A photojournalist has a very important job during these kind of moments. We have but seconds, sometimes less, to decide whether or not to photograph a moment where a player is severely injured and in a vulnerable state. I often choose to document these events, as it is a photojournalist's job to capture an event in its entirety. Sometimes that event contains graphic moments.

***If you have a weak stomach at the sight of injury/blood, I warn you to stop reading here.***

When a photojournalist makes the decision to document a serious injury, they must take several things into consideration. The first of them being intent. They must ask themselves "What is my intent with capturing this player's vulnerable moment?" For me, it is to document an important aspect of the game, albeit gruesome.

Another thing to take into consideration is the way images are captured and framed. A simply crop can change the context of a specific image. Below, you see the same photo with two different crops. A tighter crop focuses on the blood on the ice. A broader crop brings in the context of a team coming around a seriously injured player with blood being more in the background.

By choosing the tighter crop, I am conveying the seriousness of the injury. By choosing a broader crop, I am conveying the seriousness of camaraderie.

Another aspect of photographing such events is more obviously what you choose to capture. Out of respect for the player, I chose not to do any close up shots of his face. I kept all of my clear shots of him in a broader crop. I know for a fact that there were photographers last night whom chose to do close-ups of Edler's bloody face. It is up to the photographer in the end as to what they shoot and how they shoot it.

Below is a photo story of the event that took place last night.

Moment of impact between Alexander Edler's face and the ice.

Alexander Edler laying unconscious behind the net with teammate Jacob Markstrom hovering overtop of him.

Flyers Jakub Voracek signaling for the medics to get a stretcher.

Medics bringing a stretcher and assisting a now conscious Alexander Edler onto the stretcher to be taken off the ice.

Alexander Edler upright and being ushered off the ice by medics on a stretcher and Jakub Voracek of the Flyers and fellow teammates following alongside.

Flyers players and fans watch Alexander Edler being stretchered off the ice. Most in silence, some players clapping their sticks against the ice in recognition.

Details of the blood on the ice and the Flyers Ice Crew cleaning it off the ice.

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Kate Frese

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