EXERCISE   – Evidence of Action

The purpose of this exercise is to produce an image from which it can be seen that something has happened.  The suggestion is made that it might include something that has been either broken or emptied, but I have found another subject to illustrate this concept.


Paul Owen_22


It is clear that something has happened here.  The bright day-glow colours and the action and focus of the people indicate that this is no ordinary scene but the result of something dramatic.  The image depicts the aftermath of an accident at a road racing event held at the Oliver’s Mount race circuit near Scarborough. The rider’s brakes had failed coming into the dangerous Mere Hairpin section of the track and the bike and rider had crashed into a tree.  The head of the rider can be seen through the gap in the legs of the medic on the left.  There was great concern over the injured man’s condition as there was every indication that the injuries were serious.  An incident in the same area of the track earlier in the weekend had resulted in the death of another rider.  Fortunately, on this occasion the injuries were not life threatening and the rider was expected to make a full recovery.

The image holds interest for me for a number of reasons in addition to the emotions and memories it brings back. Whereas the imaginary lines created by the angle of the bodies and the attention of some of those involved in the scene, in particular the two men in blue standing in the centre and on the right of the frame respectively, draw the eye towards the injured rider on the ground, there is also movement and attention towards the right hand side of the image and out of the frame.  Also there is a contrast between the stillness of the injured rider and the action and movement of a number of those involved in particular the right hand man in orange.  This contrast suggests both the need for calm and control and the sense of urgency and action which are being shown in order to best deal with the situation.

I took this shot from some distance with a long telephoto lens so as not to interfere with proceedings and upset those involved.  However, I still received some criticism from members of the crowd for taking photographs of the scene as they considered that it was entirely inappropriate and that ‘not even the Press photographers would consider photographing the aftermath of accidents’.  I tried to explain that I was there to do a photoshoot of all aspects of the racing scene for my Degree course and that accidents were a significant, if regrettable, part of the event but the response was still frosty.

I found the response to accidents from the crowd and officials on the circuit interesting.  Whilst there was an acknowledgment that accidents were almost inevitable and that serious injury and death were always a possibility, I found that there was little if any discussion of the subject and certainly no reporting by officials over the tannoy outside of unemotional notification of ‘red flag’ incidents. This experience brought home to me the potential for controversy and conflict when taking unconventional photographs in ‘live’ situations and the sort of thing that news photographers sometimes have to deal with.

———-   o0o   ———-

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