Day 207: Vicarious responsibility

Day 207: Vicarious responsibility

Day 207: Vicarious responsibility

Monday, July 25, 2016

Last year, I photographed Ralph Kelly, whose son Thomas was killed in a one-punch attack in Kings Cross. A photo can only capture so much; I am more haunted by what I observed in his demeanour and the way he moved.

Today, I learned that his other son, Stuart, has died. He was 19.

The cause of death, at this stage, is unknown, but I don’t think I can even fathom the grief that Ralph is going through nor what is going through his mind.

Whatever the cause, I’ve come to learn that our children will do whatever they like and live however they choose in spite of our advice. Their joy becomes our joy, their successes become our successes. But when things turn for the worse, it is left to us to pick up the pieces; to make life-changing choices we wouldn’t normally make for ourselves.

I’ve been doing a lot of the latter these past few days, and in that I might have some understanding of what Ralph is going through. Thankfully, mercifully, my children are both happy and healthy… but still too young to understand the consequences of their actions.



3 thoughts on “Day 207: Vicarious responsibility

  1. I was unsure if to hit the like button on this… and the one on Mr Kelly. Can one ‘like’ something that talks about something this awful? But it’s two great photos and the article you wrote about photographing Mr Kelly is very good too. I just wish I never saw it: it’s very difficult to try and stay detached (and yet we can’t carry the pain of the whole world).

    • Thanks Arwen. I’m not sure I can be much help, except to say that my purpose with these blogs and photos is purely to share ideas. In many ways, it’s a reaction to the judgement and outrage that the media forces us to confront every day; every day a headline telling us how we should feel and how we should react. All I want to do is share ideas without the imperative of reaching some kind of conclusion or judgement. Sometimes there are no answers – but it doesn’t hurt to just ponder.

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