You can see a ton of imagery (1, 2) of the Asiana Airlines jet that crashed in San Francisco yesterday, many of the photos in traditional news galleries acquired from citizens on the scene. Still, there isn’t a photo that comes close to the power of the one taken by passenger and Samsung exec, David Eun, from the brown grassy field just off the runway near the body of the plane. Beyond that, the tweet copy enveloping the image (as published on the Path platform) makes the assemblage simply spellbinding.
The question, though, is why?
Last August, I wrote about the shooting outside the Empire State Building, and why the Instagram posts by witnesses in the immediate aftermath were so much more powerful and genuine than the images generated shortly after by the media. Reducing the explanation down to one line, those posts were that powerful because their authors were…
“largely unaware of creating a piece of media or an artifact of cultural significance.”
If not everyone turned out to be fine, there isn’t an ounce of self-consciousness here — no concern for accuracy or any interest in posterity. It’s all just self-reflection and witnessing in the moment from one guy who walked out, and after about fifty yards, turned and looked back.
(…Joerg, by the way, has a take with more emphasis on the purely photographic act.)
(photo: David Eun via Path)