worse than a door prize

The umbrella is a nice detail:

Photographer Liu Tao was accused of lying in wait to take his pictures instead of warning people of the danger. Liu defended himself, saying: "I just knew that the city government has paved the pit, and without my pictures, the pit would not be noticed by the government, and there would perhaps be more people falling over."
Current Music: Doves -- Rise ♬

27 Responses:

  1. Love how the umbrella was saved due to the sacrifice of the face... though it's nice to see Mary Poppins physics in action...

  2. peruano says:

    Even though I laughed my ass off, it is quite clear that Liu Tao is a complete asshole.

    • katre50 says:

      It's like the quiz for photojournalists: If you were given the choice between saving a young child from drowning, and taking a Pulizter Prize-winning photograph, what film speed and settings would you use?

      • thesadtomato says:

        Given the water, I'd try and shoot at a relatively fast shutter-speed, say 1/500. I'd focus at infinity, with maybe an aperture setting of f8. Ideally there'd be time to bracket before the kid travelled out of my camera-range or died.

    • sc00ter says:

      There was just a thing on NPR about this. A journalist job is to document events, not to get involved.

      • jwz says:

        See, there's a word for that, and that word is "bullshit".

        That's the same argument used by anyone trying to justify doing things that they know are wrong: "a CEO's job is to increase shareholder value, not get bogged down in issues of morality." How's that been working out, pretty good, huh?

        I guess that we can only hope that when journalists are replaced by our new robot masters (whom, incidentally, I welcome) that those robo-journalists will be of the Three Laws variety. Because your definition of "journalist" is not only sub-human, but sub-Asimov-robot too.

        • sc00ter says:

          Well I'm not saying it's right. Well, to some degree. Obviously if somebody is going to get hurt they should help.

          I was just pointing out what they're taught. They actually interviewed a teacher and the teacher asked if they would get involved if somebody was going to die. The students said yes, the teacher said no. That's just stupid.

          Obviously if a journalist gets involved they change the outcome of the story they're reporting on. The teacher in the interview argued that this kills their credibility. I say they look like a cold, heartless, bastard if they don't do anything.

          They did say it would be okay if the small effort by the journalist wouldn't effect the outcome of the story (they gave the example of giving somebody effected by Katrina a glass of water).

        • wfaulk says:

          Assuming that the government actually wouldn't respond without embarrassment, which seems like a likely proposition regardless of the country involved, and also assuming that the embarrassment of the photograph would get them to respond, it seems to me like he's helped people. His other options are either to never think of the pit again and let many more people get hurt or stand guard there for the rest of his life.

          I'm not saying it's not dickish, but he's honestly probably helped more people this way than he could reasonably have done any other way.

          • korgmeister says:

            Considering what I've heard about the nature of local government, that's pretty much what I thought as well.

            It also reminds me somewhat of hackers who make virii as a proof of concept of a security flaw desperately in need of patching, rather than for malicious purposes.

      • peruano says:

        There is also this thing called a code of ethics and morality. If you leave either one, then you just become what is called a CIA agent.

        • sc00ter says:

          Actually, I just found an article about this here

          Some quotes:

          "Given the choice of shooting a picture or saving a life, what do you do? Photojournalist Ross Baughman says that if you're on the job, there's no quandary. You shoot the picture, of course."

          "Sometimes journalists should come to the aid of an individual, but in general, they should put their duty to document first, even if someone is hurt or killed."

          "When journalists stumble upon life-threatening scenes with no context within which to judge what's going on, they should help if they're needed. But when they set out to do a story that they think may involve crime or pain, they should be prepared to watch rather than to react."

          • peruano says:

            Oh shit. My bad. Now that you found those quotes on an Internet site I know I must certainly be mistaken!

            By the way, that is exactly the problem with idiots that justify some of their most horrendous actions by some fake "it is my job" shield. I wish I would believe in some just-divine power because that would (hopefully) punish such monstrosity.

            • sc00ter says:

              I wasn't saying you were wrong. I'm not saying I'm right.

              I was just posting to an article to explain where they're coming from and to have something better then "I heard this on the radio"

              Not every reply is an argument against your position.

  3. fnoo says:

    Judging by how far the wheel's dipped in the first shot, the rider would have probably been able to maintain control if he hadn't been holding the umbrella :)

    • korgmeister says:

      Maybe. But really, who the fuck rides carrying an umbrella. That is just ASKING to end up in a horrible accident. When you're riding in the rain, you need more control over your bike, not less.

      Oh and these photographs are a wonderful lesson in public safety, namely the dangers of a poorly secured item in the rear pannier. See, look how he goes into an endo and that suitcase slams right into the back of his head.

      Yep, that's some really yummy blunt trauma to the neck and cranium, right there!

      • sc00ter says:

        "Oh and these photographs are a wonderful lesson in public safety, namely the dangers of a poorly secured item in the rear pannier. See, look how he goes into an endo and that suitcase slams right into the back of his head."

        From what I see it stays secure. It doesn't leave the bike at all. If anything, if the tie-down broke loose it probably would have kept going forward and flew over his head missing him.

  4. bonniegrrl says:


    Now someone please tell me why this guy's umbrella stays in tact, but thanks to the San Francisco rainy season I've already ruined three umbrellas that can't handle a little wind?

  5. dossy says:

    Liu Tao discovers live-action MXC fun.


  6. fantasygoat says:

    I wonder if those are teeth spilling out of his mouth.

  7. lars_larsen says:

    That guy probably broke his neck!

    • d1663m says:

      Nah, looks like a pretty flat to the ground face-plant. If anything was broken it might be his nose, or pride.

      • lars_larsen says:

        Looks like his head bounced off the ground, flexing your neck back like that quickly can break bones. Your chest doesnt bounce, your head does. Snap.

        • d1663m says:

          Looks like his head bounced off the ground...

          Good point. Though in the final frame it looks like he's pulled himself up onto his forearms and has a face that looks like the beginning of "WTF?!" Or it's (asian) equivalent.