“Shame on you.” The voice became more strident. “To make money on this terrible tragedy. It’s despicable.”
The circle gave the voice room.
“Start shooting, Frank.” Kelly Kieran advanced on an older woman now being isolated by the guests. “Are you a relative of one of the victims?” Kelly asked.
“That’s my niece.” Her arm shot out pointing to the dramatic picture of the mother holding her fatally shot daughter being used as a backdrop for the interview. The woman trembled. She put her hand on her forehead. “It’s not right. It’s just not right.”
Freyja watched people, Kelly included, look from the woman to the picture and back to the woman, the moment paralyzed by this public display of emotion. No one moved or spoke until Jonathon placed a gentle arm around the woman and she shuffled away into the gloom. Freyja saw Marty positioned himself between Linda and the controversy.
The interruption seemed to unsettle the network reporter and while she regrouped Kelly moved in. “Is it despicable to make money on this tragedy?”
The intensity of the woman’s outrage and grief had shaken Freyja but after a few sleepless nights wrestling with this very issue she had the answer to the question pinned. “I’m sorry for this lady’s loss. I truly am. I’m sorry for all the victims and their families. I can’t even to begin to imagine what they’re going through. I’m sorry if this exhibit upsets them and I understand why it would.”
Freyja took a deep breath. “That day on Dunsmuir Street an evil was unleashed and I just happened to be the one that photographed it. It happened.” She turned her palms up. “I didn’t make it happen, nor could I have stopped it from happening.” She looked at her most famous picture. She smelled the cordite, tasted the metallic flavor of fear. Her hand went to the small scar on her forehead.
“My photos are neutral, they don’t pass judgment, that’s up to the public and the politicians. But they do say, look, this is what actually happened. They make it real. No one can deny it or minimize it. The photographs are a testament to that day and that terrible, tragic event. Banning these photos from publication or denying the public the opportunity to see them won’t make what happened go away, or even make it better, but it might do the opposite.”
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