Couple That Died in Yosemite: 'Is Our Life Worth Just One Photo?'

Couple That Died in Yosemite: 'Is Our Life Worth Just One Photo?'

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.

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Mark Harris's picture

I always wonder why other types of accidents don't get these comments. When someone dies in a road accident on the way to the cinema, no-ones says "No film is worth dying for, what an unnecessary risk to get on the motorway just to see a film". We all take risks everyday, and most of what we do is unnecessary.

That's a pretty narrow-minded view of the situation at hand. Yes, risks are a part of life. But surely you can see the difference between someone "risking their life" driving to the grocery store vs someone doing chin ups off the edge of a skyscraper.

Mark Harris's picture

Yep, I see the difference, but I see standing on Taft point as closer to driving on the motorway than doing chin ups off the edge of a skyscraper, which I agree is a risk too far.

Studio 403's picture

When I was in the age range of those poor folk, I did some dumb stuff. I am 72 crawling to 73. Jumping off roofs to another building below. Go under a bridge over rivers to climb up and down the steel rafters. Good thing no cameras to take selfies or am sure I would not be here on planet earth. I thought of myself as "bulletproof". Never cared or thought of consequences of my actions. My sons followed in my steps, skydiving in dubious areas of the US. Deep dives in scuba gear next to rocks thrashing with torrent waves. In the ancient of days someone wrote, "there is nothing new under the sun". So it goes. I was an adrenalin junkie. Risk has great rewards, some end in tragedy. I hope some "do-gooder" builds a 30 ft wall so we can make our own decisions.