A photograph was published yesterday on the cover page of The Kathmandu Post but unlike the numerous other photographs which get published daily, this one spread like wildfire all over the internet. There was something about the picture which touched the inner soul of the people who saw it in the newspaper or on the internet. In the picture, a man with some sort of physical disability is seen stuck on his wheelchair in the middle of a flooded street while a school girl is trying to pull him out of it.
The caption in the photo quotes ‘ A man with disability turns down a student’s help as she tries to pull him out of a flooded street in Kathmandu on Sunday’. It was obviously a touching photo which provoked human emotions of empathy and kindness but there was an important message in the caption as well. The photo got the attention but the caption went ignored. It is mentioned in the caption that the man turned down the help of the student. It was possibly because he thought that he was fine on his own.
Here it is important to remember that we should always ask first if anyone is not calling for help. The intention of the girl may have been good but she could be barging into the man’s personal space unknowingly. Similarly, the man might be feeling unsafe with the way the girl is trying to navigate the wheelchair. The Picture went viral on Social media with captions like ‘Photo speaks for itself’ and ‘Humanity still alive’. However, there were some Social media users who raised questions on various aspects noticed in the Photograph.
While the photo taken by Sanjog Manandhar published in the Kathmandu Post took home all the ‘Best photo of the Day’ trophies, there was another photo taken by Hemanta Shrestha published in the Kantipur daily which didn’t get as much attention. The second photo was also taken at the same time but it was taken from a slightly different angle. It provided a better view of the whole surrounding and situation. As seen in the second photo, the man in the wheelchair is very near to the dry part of the footpath.
The first photo shows the person stuck in a dangerous situation while the second photo tells a different story. It seems that he could easily maneuver to the dry part on his own which may be the reason why he is seen declining the student’s help in the picture. The first picture presents the same situation in a different manner while the second picture shot at the same time provides a better explanation of the scenario.
Both the pictures were apparently shot at the same time by different photographers. We can see the same situation in both the pictures. The water level on the wheelchair and the man’s gesture refusing the help is the same in both pictures. If you see carefully then the second photographer can be noticed in the top left corner of the first picture but he is not taking the picture at that moment. This could mean that there could be a third photographer too who was present on the scene.
Isn’t it a bit strange that there are a couple of photographers already present to capture the moment from different angles while a school-girl is trying to help a man with disability on a flooded Kathmandu street? Does the photo really speak for itself? It rather seems that the photo asks a lot of unanswered questions.