In ‘combat’ of a terrorist attack, a time to take pictures

Every terrorist attack has an iconic photograph.

This is Brussels’.

In this photo provided by Georgian Public Broadcaster and photographed by Ketevan Kardava, Nidhi Chaphekar, a 40-year-old Jet Airways flight attendant from Mumbai, right, and another unidentified woman after being wounded in Brussels Airport in Brussels, Belgium, after explosions were heard Tuesday, March 22, 2016. A developing situation left at least one person and possibly more dead in explosions that ripped through the departure hall at Brussels airport Tuesday, police said. All flights were canceled, arriving planes were being diverted and Belgium's terror alert level was raised to maximum, officials said. (Ketevan Kardava/ Georgian Public Broadcaster via AP)

Ketevan Kardava had a choice photojournalists sometimes have to make. When is it time to help and when is it time to take photographs?

The bombs went off near her and knocked her to the ground. In shock, she got up. People told her to run. She didn’t know if another bomb would soon explode. She saw these two injured women.

She pulled out her iPhone.

“What do you do in this situation if you’re a journalist? Help? Ask doctor to come? Or take a photo?” she told USA Today. “In that very moment, I realized that to show the world what was happening in this moment of terror, a photo was more important.”

“The people I photographed were not able to run and I wasn’t able to help them. It was very, very difficult for me to leave them. I was the only person on my feet. I wanted to help all of them but I couldn’t. I left them. I had to — we expected a third explosion.”

Kardava’s dilemma isn’t an unusual one for combat photographers. And on Tuesday, Brussels was engaged in combat.

What happened to the women?

The most seriously injured — Nidhi Chapekar, 40, a Jet Airways flight attendant — is in the hospital. The photograph is how her family in Mumbai learned she was alive after the blasts.

Her husband tells Indian Express that she’ll keep flying.

“She just happened to be there. Why should terror attacks make someone leave their work,” he said.

Amit Motwani, the woman on the left, also works for the airline. A statement from the airline says only that she’s receiving treatment at a hospital.