While photographing a wreck I felt the presence of someone watching me.

I got my last few shots and turned around to go back to the office and there he was — staring at me, brow furrowed.

The man told me I was being rude because I was taking the photographs while those involved in the wreck were “already all shook up.”

In a way he is right because it can sometimes feel intrusive, zooming in on the wreckage and hoping to get a nice shot  — but it is not rude.

I don’t like to do it any more than the person who wrecked wants me to. I told him I understood his point of view, but I have to do my job.

Newspapers photograph wrecks, fires and other mishaps because it documents the event in a way words could never do.

This is one of the many times in my life I am reminded of the research paper I wrote about Jacob Riis and his bright — literally — idea to photograph people to go along with his stories. He did it because he felt no one was acting upon the issues he wrote about.

This is precisely why wrecks, manmade and natural disasters, protests and more are photographed.

For example, if a wreck happens in the same intersection time after time, the photographs will be there to support the story.

The photographs could be used with stories about wrecks which could have been avoided — similar to the recent K-7/K-126 wrecks.

The photographs work their magic by eliciting feelings  — the shock of seeing a mangled car on the side of the road could bring action.

I respectfully take the photographs and avoid sharing the photos of faces and bloody injuries, but it is what it is and if something could be done to stop another wreck happening again, harming innocent victims, then I’m all for it — action includes the placement of yield signs, stop signs, rumble strips, having no texting and driving campaigns, a look at DUIs and a look at the judicial system for repeat offenders and more.

 — Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP.