Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

The Fraternal Kiss

with 15 comments

In 1979, Régis Bossu, a freelance photographer for European Stars and Stripes, Stern, Spiegel, and Sygma, went East Berlin to photograph the festivities of the 30th anniversary of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik — East Germany. The celebrations’ guest of honor was the aging Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

When Brezhnev finished his speech, East German President Erich Honecker opened his arms to congratulate him with a big kiss, a normal ritual for socialist comrades.  (But both Honecker and Brezhnev were a little more enthusiastic than your average Communist dictator in kissing. A contemporary joke runs such: Brezhnev was commenting about a foreign leader, “As a politician, rubbish… but what a good kisser!”) A dozen photographers were there to capture this moment, but it was Régis who captured two men at the decisive moment. Many magazines used it immediately, and Paris Match devoted double pages to it, with a caption “The Kiss”.

In the euphoric weeks following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, artists from all over the world gathered flocked to Ostbahnhof to paint on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall. In a lampoon of Socialist Realism, a Soviet artist, Dmitri Vrubel, painted the kiss there with a caption: “God help me to survive this deadly love affair.” (Vrubel saw the photo in an old Paris Match). It became one of the most famous pictures on Berlin’s East Side Gallery as that long stretch of wall is now called, and when it was erased by the government in 2009, the public uproar led to Vrubel being invited to repaint it.

Bossu’s and Vrubel’s image was repeatedly copied, re-photographed and re-published, and printed on T-shirts, towels and other memorabilia. A Berlin hotel took it as its logo. According to Bossu, “The Kiss,” has been re-published more than 500 times. See Bossu and Vrubel posing with their respective images in front of the erased section of the Wall here.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

August 2, 2010 at 9:50 pm

15 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. [...] The Fraternal Kiss [...]

    • they’re about to play some fraternal tummy sticks…

      brad

      October 22, 2010 at 8:45 am

  2. [...] Tagged with Adolph de Meyer, Ballet Russes, Nijinsky « The Fraternal Kiss [...]

  3. [...] Iconic photos y Kurioso A lo mejor también te interesan: Muere la mujer de “El beso” El beso del Hôtel [...]

  4. [...] Iconic photos y Kurioso A lo mejor también te interesan: Muere la mujer de “El beso” El beso del Hôtel [...]

    Siéntate y observa…

    March 19, 2012 at 11:11 am

  5. [...] Iconic photos y Kurioso A lo mejor también te interesan: Muere la mujer de “El beso” El beso del Hôtel [...]

  6. pretty weird..

    none of your business.

    March 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

  7. […] Después de retwitear la noticia, sin embargo, recibo una alarma de @abrelatas: ¿no será este beso simplemente un beso ruso? ¿No estaremos pensando en Jesse Owens cuando en realidad deberíamos pensar en el beso de Brezhnev con el presidente de la RDA Erich Honecker? […]

  8. […] El beso, es el famoso “beso fraternal”, habitual en la cultura rusa como podemos observar con la fotografía mítica de Leonid Brezhnev y Erich Honecker besándose en la boca. Fotografía vía Iconic Photos […]

  9. […] El beso, es el famoso “beso fraternal”, habitual en la cultura rusa como podemos observar con la fotografía mítica de Leonid Brezhnev y Erich Honecker besándose en la boca. Fotografía vía Iconic Photos […]

  10. […] In the first O letter, I took on the topic of breaking the barriers of hate via Facebook.  I posted an amazing ad by Benettonthat was pulled the same day it went up! The company was pressured by the Vatican itself to pull it.  It has the Pope kissing an Imam, which tears at the tenants of religious hate and the issue of religious views on LGBT relationships as well.  It is also a remake of an historical event of the USSR General Secretary Brezhnev kissing the Eastern German President at the time at 30th anniversary of Communism in East Germany in 1979.  Below is a Berlin Wall cynical painting in 1989 of that historic kiss. […]

  11. […] may seem odd or even taboo that two woman would kiss but in Russian culture it is not so strange. (check out this picture of former Communist leader Breshnev and former East German leader Erich Honecker kissing). It took […]

  12. […] You see, in Russia, a straight guy will drop his wife in a nanosecond for a chance at getting some of that hot man-on-ma…. […]

  13. […] A bit more detail on the picture can be found at this site:      http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/the-fraternal-kiss/ […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,278 other followers

%d bloggers like this: