Photographer Falls to Death Trying to Capture Picture

Sad news out of California, as a photographer there fell to his death while trying to get a shot.

The photographer, Jiyoun Park, was standing on a ledge on top of a parking garage, trying to take shots of the Lodi Arch and a passing train, when it appears he slipped and fell about 40 feet to his death. Neighbors mentioned that he was a quiet, nice person who enjoyed taking photographs in the area.

Park's story caught my eye as it seems that he wasn't really doing anything extreme or blatantly ill-advised. It was just a short lapse of judgment that led to the unfortunate accident. We often read stories of photographers knowingly putting themselves in harm's way against all common sense, and most of us think that we would never willingly put ourselves in such a situation. However, it's easy for any person with a healthy level of common sense to unwittingly put themselves in a dangerous situation despite seemingly harmless circumstances, such as stepping a little too close to the edge of a building. Don't let the pursuit of a photograph cause you to inadvertently endanger yourself. 

Lead image by Wikipedia user Libismom, used under Creative Commons.

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Mark James's picture

Sad, but I can think of worse ways to go than death by misadventure. Before drones (and old age) I was a little more crazy about trying to get new angles of things. There are still those shots that require you to push safety if you want them and those are the ones I like. Push yourself, but stay safe.

Deleted Account's picture

To anyone who has wondered why people who are working on roofs wear harnesses.

Work Health and Safety principles also apply to photographers.

There is a reason people in construction are required to obtain a Working at Heights and also Elevated Work Platforms qualifications.

This is a tragic accident that was totally and easily avoidable.

Also, photographers (like any professional) have a duty of care to people coming into proximity with your work, and if you do not have public liability insurance you're mad.

Further, you should be undertaking a formal risk assessment before you undertake any potentially dangerous commercial work.

Edit: I'm not sure that it is possible to view standing on a ledge, 40 feet up, without safety gear as " wasn't really doing anything extreme or blatantly ill-advised."

Alex Cooke's picture

When I say that, I mean it in the sense of mindset. I imagine his mindset was something like "I'm standing in a perfectly normal place; I'm going to inch out just a bit farther to get this shot." It's a small step from completely everyday behavior as compared to someone willingly and consciously putting themselves in extreme danger in a way that's nowhere close to normal behavior by say, getting close to wildlife for a shot.

Deleted Account's picture

My worldview is possibly skewed, as I investigate workplace injuries.

José J. Soto's picture

I agree completely. Sadly many people, even older people, don't understand safety or take it seriously, like the people who take pictures of others while hanging from a tall building with no safety gear. Or on train tracks. Or...