Catering to the Rubberneckers

We all know and understand that folks are fascinated by the misfortunes of others, particularly in regard to accidents. Why, it seems apparent that people are even willing to be late to work in order to see some spectacular crash scene, slowing down radically on the other side of the highway, where there is no inherent reason to slow, in order to catch a glimpse of the incident, and perhaps use their imaginations to do a “Sherlock Holmes” and solve the riddle of what happened with a mere glance at the tragedy in passing. If you are so inclined, you may want to take advantage of this natural inclination by photographing an accident scene, preferably in a tasteful way that concentrates more on the drama, and less on the gore.

There are three basic ways of capturing an accident: concentrate on the damage;   concentrate on the immediate human drama (carefully); or tell a story with pictures in only a few frames.


I had an opportunity to do all three things at a T-bone rollover accident involving a trapped driver being removed by the Fire Department using the “Jaws of Life” device to cut her free. It is important to remember that you have freedom to be in a public place such as this; however, keep in mind that if you infringe on the people working the incident with your presence, you can quickly become “Enemy No. 1”. I recommend using a longer lens and staying out of the way if possible, not to mention keeping faces of victims and license plates out of the pictures.


3 thoughts on “Catering to the Rubberneckers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s