Are Photographers More Ambitious Than Humane?

-Carter's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph

Every so often I stroll Downtown Detroit for a solo photography walk, I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, but I find something that stands out to me each time, despite taking the same route. On this particular day, I decided to head to Campus Martius, not because I was motivated, but simply because I wanted to sit down and take a breather. Upon my arrival, I noticed the fountain, I've seen this fountain multiple times but I've been reading about long exposure photography and thought what better time to put what I learned into action.

Unfortunately, in my frame was a man sitting in the chair, initially, I was annoyed, but later realized he may actually add some depth to the photo. After a few failed attempts of long exposure shots, I decided to make him my focus. I've always enjoyed underexposed, detailed portraits in other photographers work, so I wanted to attempt something similar... Except I was too afraid to invade his privacy. He sat there playing with what looked like Tarot Cards, and from a distance, I shot away. I got a few decent frames in, but he kept nodding off, slowly falling in and out of consciousness. Not a big deal, an even better story to tell I thought... Until he fell out of his chair, face first to the ground!

I didn't know what to do, I mentally panicked. After a few seconds, servers from the Fountain Bistro ran out and asked me what happened, I explained that he just fell over. We sat him on his back and called 911, their advice was to feed him sugar and wait for the ambulance to come... luckily he was right next to a restaurant. After doing all we could I decided I would wait with the gentlemen. A few moments he began to have a seizure...

The photographer in me wanted to snap these pics, and document this story, not for likes, or to be a troll, but strictly to capture the moment, a moment I too was a part of. Many people walked passed, several of them captured photos with their cellular devices, while only a few asked what happened and how they could help... One person even thought we were filming a movie because of the camera and equipment I had with me.

After a few minutes I decided to take the picture, I took several of them, I didn't get close and personal, but I was still able to capture the moment. When the ambulance I arrived I directed them to the body, and even photographed them arriving at the scene. The photographic series only ended up being 3 pictures, and it really doesn't tell a story without the above information, so in essence I truly didn't do a great job capturing the moment, but it got me thinking; Are these pictures okay to post? Were my decisions inhumane? And most importantly did I go to far as a photographer? Or did I fail as one and not get the proper shots I had the opportunity to take initially?

I posted the question to reddit, along with the pictures and received some rather interesting responses, however, the conversation between the subreddit self.streetphotography ended early due to self removal of the pictures (they have now been reposted). 

Here are some of the responses from the post;

IMO pic number 2 goes too far.
If you had a seizure and woke up on a stone, cold pavement fighting disorientation, what would you rather see? A stranger trying to keep you calm and explaining that medical assistence is on the way? Or a stranger preoccupied with taking pictures?
— EuroHobbes
The photograph goes too far or the photographer goes too far?
— arteryal
Excellent question. I think both go too far, but of the two the photographer is more ‘out of line’ than the photo. Without the background story the photo is quite harmless (it could be someone sleeping one off after a party that went overboard), but with the story I find it too offensive.
I will admit that it is hard for me to justify that feeling and understand that a (street)photographer is only watching/documenting, I simply cannot shake the idea that you are a person first and a photographer second.
On the other hand: I realise that (for example) a war photographer has a far greater contribution to society by being an objective spectator than he/she is by helping victims in, say, a bombing. I get where you are coming from by saying that nothing goes to far.
In this simpler case however, I will allow myself the hypocrisy by stating that OP should have refrained from taking shots and focused on helping the person.
— EuroHobbes
I get where you’re coming from too and my explanation above is overly simplified, of course, it’s much more complex.
In this case, OP admitted to assisting and making photos when the guy was passed out. We don’t know what his capacity to help is and I (for example) wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to do with someone who is having a seizure. If OP had the obligation to assist, why doesn’t that obligation extend to anyone/everyone else who was there? and why does everyone assume that assisting and photographing are mutually exclusive? There are so many questions that need answering before making a rational objective judgement of the scenario that it’s virtually impossible to do, and who are we to make that judgement anyway?
Why is the man who took this photo[1] a fucking piece of shit and all of the bystanders are given a free pass? As much as I empathise with the victims here, I also empathise with the photographers in these scenarios because inevitably they become scapegoats.
— arteryal

The [1] in the quote above is in reference to the photo above, this photograph blew up the internet just a few years ago.

Now to spare you all further reading I won't go into deep detail on the photo above, but for those of you who are ill-informed, I was able to find an older post on PetaPixel that gives you a little background story here. I wanted to know what side of the argument are you all on, and furthermore what's the real debate at hand. Are people upset because we are busy photographing vs helping? Or is the public upset that we are invading other privacy without consent? I see now that my pictures aren't on the same scale as the Doomed pic, or as controversial as the photojournalist mentioned on PetaPixels blog post, but the topic will always interest me, both as a photographer and a citizen.