A young couple fell to their deaths in Yosemite National Park last week. We should all take it as an unfortunate reminder: no photograph is worth your life
According to NPR, Vishnu Viswanath, 29, and his wife Meenakshi “Minaxi” Moorthy, 30, a couple of Indian heritage living in the San Francisco Bay Area, fell around 800 feet into Yosemite Valley from Taft Point. Their bodies had to be recovered by park rangers using technical climbing techniques and helicopter support.
The details of the accident are still developing, but there’s one part of the story that all photographers need to think about.
In an Instagram post from March, Moorthy posted a photo of herself sitting on a rock ledge watching a sunset. In the caption, she writes,
“A lot of us including yours truly is a fan of daredevilry attempts of standing at the edge of cliffs ⛰and skyscrapers🌆, but did you know that wind gusts can be FATAL??? ☠️ Is our life just worth one photo?”
The irony of that statement, and of what happened to Moorthy and her husband, is not lost on me, and it shouldn’t be lost on you. Sometimes, we need to practice what we preach. I’ve been known to go out on ledges and put myself in sticky situations just to get a photo, but I know I need to keep in mind that, at any time, something could go wrong somewhere and that the risk I’m taking could turn into something much, much worse in a heartbeat.
In a world where gaining “followers” is paramount, and the urge to “influence” gains more and more characteristics of addiction, it’s going to be vital for people to remember that no photograph, no follower, no “like” is worth dying for.
Be careful, folks.