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The New York Times today has an interesting story written by the man (Kieran Beer) holding the bleeding woman’s hand in what has become the iconic image of yesterday’s steam pipe explosion in New York. The piece is largely a description we have heard a million times — of people in the middle of a disaster dealing with it the only way that seems logical to them, helping other people, and going back to their daily lives. There are a couple things that happen at the beginning and end of the article that I find fascinating, though. The first is Beer’s description of the moment the picture was taken.

"I look pretty distressed in the photo. I was, but mostly about the photo being taken. I understood the photographer was doing his job, but I really didn’t want be part of the story. There was a mob of people with cell phone cameras, but I’m sure this one was taken by the guy with the tripod. He took two, moving the camera twice to keep it a respectful distance in front of us. I knew immediately that the photo would be dramatic and was likely to get picked up by newspapers. That’s why I’m looking away from the camera. I felt I should stay with that woman, but I didn’t want to be in the picture."