It kept photobloggers busy for a few days; Iconic Photos weighs in with its two cents.
If there is one small part of photojournalism that this blog revels in, it is on how photos lie. Seeing is believing, but we also only see what we want to see, and the above photo taken amidst the chaos of hockey riots in Vancouver is almost a textbook case. The image seemingly showed a young couple determined to make love, not war – to use a much clichéd phrase.
But was it a passionate embrace, a staged photo-op or a piece of performance art? Like many a good kiss captured on film, this photo was dogged by endless questions. Like Eisenstaedt, Richard Lam who took the photo didn’t have time to verify the identifies of his subjects; he even didn’t realized what he had captured until he got back to his office, initially assuming that he was taking pictures of some injured youths.
But this is no 1945, there are Twitter and Facebook to propose many theories, and also surveillance cameras and camera phones to substantiate and repudiate them. A fake twitter account popped up; Esquire gushed it may be the greatest photo ever. (Still another tongue-in-cheek retort). In the end, it took a little more than 24 hours for details to emerge. [See the Guardian]
The man in the photo was identified as the 29-year old barman Scott Jones by his family which lived 10,000 miles away in Perth, Australia. “I knew it was him because he doesn’t have a lot of clothes with him and he always puts on the same thing,” his mother mused. Mr. Jones was lying on the road with his Canadian girlfriend who had hurt her leg. The kiss, alas, was one of reassurance and comfort, rather than one of passion.
(N.B. I showed Emily the photo, hoping to solicit an “awww”; instead she noted cynically that had the girl been wearing pants, there would have been no fuss. She may be onto something here – it’s the legs that made this photo, in my opinion).