Caution at the Train Stop


©2009 Chicago Tribune

It is a sad reality of big cities that terrible crimes are often a fact of life. Following overnight news that a woman was sexually assaulted shortly after leaving this CTA train stop, I was sent to make a quick picture of the location. As the story grew throughout the day, my editor felt a more interesting picture was necessary to highlight its news value, so I went back out.  Photographing intangibles are normally not easy, so I was glad to find compelling light and this woman looking over her shoulder.  If it seemed too easy, it was.  As my editors pointed out, a newspaper can’t run a picture with the subjects faces clearly visible.  Viewers would be left with the impression that she’s a victim, even if the caption stated otherwise. That might sound too cautious, but if you were a commuter who was surprised to see your face plastered on the story, you’d probably appreciate it. So we went with another photo. It’s the kind of invisible decision that photo editors make several times a day on issues of taste, fairness, and news value – which are often taken for granted in the grand scheme of things…

Alex Garcia

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