Photograph by Kevin Frayer—AP
"The scene was somewhat chaotic yet strangely calm," AP photographer Kevin Frayer noted upon arriving on April 27, 2013 at a makeshift morgue in a schoolyard near the garment factory that collapsed last Wednesday in Savar, Bangladesh. "People wandered in the courtyard carrying photographs of their missing loved ones."
Bangladeshi relatives of garment worker Mohammed Abdullah, pictured in the photograph above and featured in TIME’s Pictures of the Week, arrived on the scene and identified him as one of the victims. “[His body] was placed in a simple wooden box and loaded onto a truck,” Frayer says. “The family gathered around and were overcome by grief,”—so much so, they didn’t notice the photographer’s presence.
"You try to be delicate and respectful but you’re never sure how people will react," he says. "You balance the need to care for their grief while at the same time trying to capture the scene to tell the greater story."
"I’ve often asked myself what I would do if, in my saddest moment, some strange soul was standing with a camera in front of me… and I’ve never been able to answer it," Frayer adds. "But in these situations, in places where the victims often come from marginalized communities, the grieving are often willing to accept our presence there, believing it gives their grief value and that we might make a difference."
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