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Lunch Atop a Skyscraper: The Story Behind the Iconic Photo

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As you probably know by now, this month, TIME is busy sharing the stories behind the 100 most influential images of all time. And today, they shared some fascinating insights into the famous photograph of 11 construction workers having lunch on a steel beam 840 feet above New York City.

The photograph—which is sometimes referred to as “Men at Work”—is called “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” and it was captured by one of three photographers risking life and limb to take pictures on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza on September 20th, 1932.

The men are unidentified, the photographer unknown, and the photo (like many from that era) is thought to have been staged… but none of that really matters. The image lives on: a testament to New York City’s “vertical expansion” and the positive attitude that suffused it during and despite the Great Depression.

Check out the video at the top to see many many more images from that building boom, including the “hats off” version of this same shot. And then, if you haven’t already, visit TIME’s 100 images multimedia experience.

(via ISO 1200)

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