Lunch atop a Skyscraper is one of the most recognizable photos of the 20th century. The 1932 photo shows 11 construction workers taking a lunch break on a girder 850 feet above New York City. A second photo from the same shoot shows four of the men sleeping on the beam. The images are iconic and epic, but may not be as candid as they seem.
New emerging information about the images is casting doubt on the fact that they’re simple snapshots showing ordinary workers on the job. Instead, the photos were reportedly staged as part of a promotional effort for the Rockefeller Center.
Recognize this photograph? It shows 14-year-old Mary Ann Vecchio screaming and kneeling over the body of 20-year-old Jeffrey Miller, shot during the Kent State Massacre. Kent State photojournalism student John Paul Filo — just 22-years-old at the time — captured the image, and was later awarded the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography.
Men at Lunch is an amazing new documentary film by Seán Ó Cualáin that explores the story of one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century: Lunch atop a Skyscraper. the 1932 photo of eleven construction workers taking a lunch break while sitting on a girder suspended 850 feet above New York City.
Ever wonder what the most viewed photograph of all time is? One leading candidate is Bliss, the photograph chosen by Microsoft to be the default wallpaper of Windows XP. Showing rolling green hills in Sonoma County, California, the image was shot by the side of a highway by professional photographer Charles O’Rear using a medium format camera. It has reportedly been viewed by over 1 billion people since it first emerged in 2002.
I am not anti-Instgram, nor am I anti-cellphone photography. But there is a tendency to believe that the art filters that are readily available with many cellphone photo apps somehow “improve” reality. Many of the frequently used filters either significantly boost color saturation, or try to give the appearance of an antiqued, polaroid-esque photo.
But this doesn’t mean it’s better than a more true-to-life image. To prove my point, here are a few iconic photos “re-taken” with art filters a la Instagram. Do you agree?
Here are some uncropped (or “unzoomed”) versions of iconic photographs that show more context than their famous cropped counterparts. It’s interesting to see what photographers and photo editors chose to keep and what they chose to throw away. The image above is an alternate view of Tank Man.
A rare Beatles photograph taken in the same shoot as the iconic Abbey Road album cover is set to go up for auction on May 22nd, and is expected to fetch up to £9,000 (~$14,300). The photograph by Iain Macmillan was one of seven photographs captured while the band walked back and forth across the zebra crossing. A police officer held up traffic while the photographer was given 10 minutes to do the shoot while standing on a ladder. Only 25 copies of this “wrong way” photo were ever printed.
(via Bloomsbury Auctions via The Guardian)
If you go to Google Street View and type in “rue de londres, paris“, you can visit the location where photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson captured his famous street photograph Behind the Gare St. Lazare in 1932. It’s an ordinary location that became an iconic photograph through Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” style of photography. Cartier-Bresson notes,
There was a plank fence around some repairs behind the Gare Saint Lazare train station. I happened to be peeking through a gap in the fence with my camera at the moment the man jumped. The space between the planks was not entirely wide enough for my lens, which is the reason why the picture is cut off on the left.
If you know of any other iconic photo locations that can be revisited through Google Street View, leave a comment!
“rue de londres, paris” in Google Maps (via Erik Kim)
Buzzfeed has published a gallery showing every winning photo from the World Press Photo contest from 1955 to the present. It’s a powerful set of photos that paints a pretty grim picture of humanity.
Every World Press Photo Winner From 1955-2011 (via kottke.org)
San Diego-based photographer Tim Mantoani has an awesome project and book titled “Behind Photographs” that consists of 20×24-inch Polaroid portraits of famous photographers posing with their most iconic photographs. The film costs $200 per shot, and Mantoani has created over 150 of the portraits already since starting the project five years ago.