Monday, 19 December 2011

Coronation of King George VI

Picture author: Henri Cartier-Bresson
Picture date: 12th May 1937
Published in: French Regard weekly magazine

Mr. Cartier-Bresson took this picture on Trafalgar Square on the coronation date of King George VI. Year 1936 was difficult for British nation. King George V died after long reign, and King Edward VIII abdicated after a year of reign to marry American socialite. King George VI took over the throne in times when people were not respectful towards monarchy.

Regard magazine was not happy that Henri Cartier-Bresson covered the coronation day, but did not shoot even one picture of the king or the carriage. Photographer took the picture of the crowd waiting to see the coronation, and the sleeping man who was waiting overnight and fell asleep. The man and photographer are missing coronation process, but the interests of the person behind the camera are to show the crowd who is divided, but united in the same moment. He portrayed historic moment in faces of people who saw how history is being created. He portrayed their faces, cheering and dancing. His lens covered it all.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Henry Ford and Model T

Picture date: 1921
Picture published by: Henry Ford Museum

The above picture depicts Henry Ford and his ground-breaking car, Model T. It was shot in Buffalo, New York in 1921. In the same year about 1 million Model Ts came out from his assembly lines. Henry Ford was a car entrepreneur of the century who developed the technique of mass production and assembly lines. He was responsible for revolution in automobile and transportation industries.

Before releasing Model T, Henry Ford was working with 19 prototypes for five years. Those models were named from A to T which was actually the final model. The release of Model T marked the beginning of affordable cars for masses. The original price of Model T was $850 or £180. After including the inflation, the price estimates around $20.000. It was a half or one third of the price of other cars at that time. the price dropped eventually to $300 by 1920s. Mr. Ford decided that due to the success of Model T, the next model will not be Model U, but 'Ford Model A' to begin naming from the start.

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Man and the Mouse

This picture depicts Walt Disney and the silhouette of Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse was created by him and eventually became a symbolic figure of American culture. Mickey Mouse was at first the replacement for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but when Disney lost rights to him, he decided to leave Universal Studios and start his own cartoon series. Mickey Mouse was the animation response to Charlie Chaplin, and Disney was very sensitive about his appearance.

Mickey Mouse debuted in Plane Crazy in May 1928, but received wide recognition six months later when Steamboat Willie was released. It was a parody of Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill Jr., but with addition of the sound it became very successful.

In 1959, Mickey Mouse became a true American symbol when Nikita Khrushchev visited Los Angeles and requested to visit the Disneyland. However, his wish could not be fulfilled because of security reasons.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Abbey Road

Picture author: Iain Macmillan
Picture date: 8 August 1969
Publish date: 26 September 1969

"Abbey Road" is a record with probably the most famous cover in history. Especially when you think about all of the tourists and drivers who go there to visit the spot on that street, or even recreate the cover. According to officials, this crossing is a "death trap" for tourists, and there were 22 accidents at the crosswalk since 2000. The crossing was given grade II listed status for its "cultural and historical importance" in December 2010.

Album cover did not include band's name or its title, which was actually an indication of band's fame and status, and become one of the most successful Beatles albums. It was Paul McCartney's idea to make a cover with four ban members outside Abbey Road studios. Iain Macmillan was taking photos while a policeman held the traffic back from the crossing. He had ten minutes to make photos, so he took six pictures, and the cover features fifth one with all band members with legs in perfect "V" formation. 

The picture presents all group members crossing the street in single file from left to right. Lennon is leading, Star, McCartney and Harrison follow him. The group is wearing suits designed by Tommy Nutter, but Paul McCartney is barefoot, because he turned up on the shooting day wearing sandals, and he kicked them off after the first two takes. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Vulture Stalking a Child

Author: Kevin Carter
Picture date: March 1993
Picture published: March 26, 1993 in New York Times

Mr. Carter took a trip to Southern Sudan in March 1993, where he took this photo. He was preparing to take a photo of a child trying to reach to feeding centre when the vulture landed. He waited for 20 minutes for the vulture to spread wings and took off, but it did not happen. So, he took the photo and chased the vulture away.

The photo was bought by New York Times and published on March 26, 2003 and gained a constant notice of hundreds of people calling to the newspaper and asking if the girl was saved. The newspaper made even a special editor's note that child had enough strength to walk away from the vulture, but her fate was unknown. Mr. Carter received much criticism for not helping the girl, even if journalists were told not to touch victims of famine. The St. Petersburg Times in Florida said about him: 

The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.

The photo won Pulitzer Prize for the photo, a very precious award for a journalist. Even after then, Mr. Carter could not enjoy the prize and confined to a friend he is really sorry for not picking the girl up. He was consumed by the violence he witnessed and haunted by the girl's fate as he did not help her, he committed suicide three months later.

Monday, 14 November 2011

When Putin met Reagan

Picture date: May 1988
Picture author: Pete Souza

The photograph was taken during President's Regan visit in Moscow. He went there for 4th summit with Mikhail Gorbachev. Soviets prepared very warm welcome, buildings near Kremlin were repainted, streets repaved, and plants and trees planted. But the visit did not omit some diplomatic failures.

When the Reagans took an unscheduled walk and went shopping on one Moscow street, they were crowded by Russian pedestrians. They were suddenly surrounded by Russian secret police, and Mr. Reagan was supposed to say that Russia is still "a police state". On the other hand, the President fell asleep halfway through the performance in Bolshoi Theatre and Secretary Gorbachev had to tap his shoulder to wake him when the curtains were going down.

The most meaningful incident was revealed only 20 years later. The man with a camera around his neck, standing behind the boy was Russian Prime Minister (former Russian President), Vladimir Putin. During these days he was acting as a KGB agent, and on that day he was pretending to be a tourist. That day, Gorbachev introduced Reagan to a group of tourists who asked him pointed questions about about subjects as human rights in the United States. The photographer, Mr. Souza, asked a Secret Service agent that he cannot believe that regular tourists can ask such pointed questions. The agent replied that those tourists are all KGB families.

The Kremlin, however, denied that the man on the photograph was Vladimir Putin.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Kozakiewicz’s gesture

Picture date: July 30, 1980

This picture was taken on the 1980 Summer Olympics Games in Moscow which were controversial from the beginning. They were boycotted by the USA and several other countries because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Despite boycott, athletes from these countries participated in Olympics Games under Olympic Flag and Hymn what was criticised and censored by the Soviet television.

Władysław Kozakiewicz, from whom the gesture's name comes from, made the gesture on July 30, 1980 to Russian spectators in the stadium. The hostile, jeering crowd was rooting for Soviet jumper Konstantin Volkov, even during Kozakiewicz's spectacular performance. Having just secured his gold medal position, Kozakiewicz made the gesture in defiance to the Soviet crowd. To many, it signified Polish resentment of Russia’s control over Eastern Europe; in Poland, the gesture became immediately known as Kozakiewicz’s gesture.

After the Olympics, the Soviet ambassador to Poland demanded that Kozakiewicz be stripped of his medal over his “insult to the Soviet people”. The official response of the Polish government was that the gesture had been an involuntary muscle spasm caused by his exertion. Kozakiewicz for his part promptly defected to West Germany.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Yeltsin dances

Photo author: Alexander Zemlianichenko
Photo date: June 10th, 1996

Above photograph depicts Boris Yeltsin dancing on a rock concert, during his campaign to re-election, to prove he was in good health. This photo shows the essence of his presidency which was known for wrong moves in wrong times. Mr. Yeltsin was a hero that stood on tank during the failed coup attempt in 1991, but wasted the next decade on wrong decisions and focusing on unimportant things while the Soviet system collapsed. For years the media speculated that Russian President struggled with alcoholism and ill-health, but during the campaign, these questions disappeared as a major issue. Eventually, he won the election for second term, but resigned from the office in 1999.

This photo won a Pulitzer prize and a World Press Photo award.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Marlboro Marine

Author: Luis Sinco
Picture date: November 10, 2004

The picture shows a marine smoking a cigarette after the siege of Fallouja, and contemplating a sunrise. He is covered in a mix of blood, camouflage paint, and dirt. At the first meeting with Mr. Sinco, marine only said:
If you want to write something, tell Marlboro I’m down to four packs, and I’m here in Fallujah till who knows when. Maybe they can send some. And they can bring down the price a bit.
Photographer was not even sure he wants to send this photo to the newspaper, he thought the editors would prefer more pictures of previous battle and siege. On the following day, he found out that the picture was published on the covers of 150 newspapers around the world. Mr. Sinco described the photograph by saying:
His expression caught my eye. To me, it said: terrified, exhausted, and glad just to be alive. I recognized that look because that's how I felt too.
With time, the photo became a symbol of Iraq war, this hopelessness seen in marine's face was present in hearts of Americans. Photographer found his subject, his name is James Blake Miller who was not as successful as the photo of him. After the war, he started to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, separated from his wife and family, and is unable to discuss certain things that happened in Fallujah.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Walk to Paradise Garden

Author:  W. Eugene Smith
Picture date: 1946
Publish date: 1955, "The Family of Man" exhibition in Museum of Modern Art

W. Eugene Smith was well-known war correspondent, famous for his brutal and sincere War World II photographs. His war wounds he gained after mortar strike on Okinawa, cost him two long years of hospitalization and plastic surgery. It was even not sure he would be able to return to photography. 

Then one day, he took his two children on a walk to a forest. Pat, older brother, took his sister, Juanita, by hand and lead her to show her something he discovered. Despite his sudden attack of pain, Mr. Smith was able to shot this picture, not perfect and unimportant to the world, but somehow beautiful. He described this moment in these words:

While I followed my children into the undergrowth and the group of taller trees – how they were delighted at every little discovery! – and observed them, I suddenly realized that at this moment, in spite of everything, in spite of all the wars and all I had gone through that day, I wanted to sing a sonnet to life and to the courage to go on living it….

Unfortunately, the photo had to wait 9 years to be published. Mr. Smith decided to submit it to Edward Steichen's famous Family of Man exhibition at Museum of Modern Art. Unexpectedly, the photo gained world recognition, became a finalist, and is considered iconic among all family photographs.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Behind the Gare St. Lazare

Author: Henri Cartier-Bresson
Picture date: 1932

This picture depicts one of those fleeting, everyday moments in life. The author,   Henri Cartier-Bresson, became famous because of his street art and capturing these moments which are also called the Decisive Moments. The photo is one of his most iconic works, showing a man taking a leap into the water when all his aids to avoid getting wet ended.

Cartier-Bresson said his picture was not fully intended and planned:
There was a plank fence around some repairs behind the Gare St. Lazare and I was peeking through the space with my camera at my eye. This is what I saw. The space between the planks was not entirely wide enough for my lens, which is the reason the picture is cut off on the left. 

Once again, the author found himself in the right place and in the right moment. This image proves that everyday moments may not be meaningless when to think of them. And also, we can find beauty in all those fleeting moments.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Raising a flag over the Reichstag


Author: Yevgeny Khaldei
Picture date: 2 May 1945
Publish date: 15 May 1945, Ogonyok magazine.

This photograph depicts a historic moment where Soviet soldiers are raising the flag of the Soviet Union on the German Reichstag building. The photograph became instantly popular, and became on of the most symbolic photographs of the World War II. It gained very wide recognition and was printed by newspapers all over the world. The German Reichstag building was erected in 1894 and it was magnificent for its time. Even though it was not used for military purposes after the fire since 1933, it was still a symbol of the enemy of the Red Army.

Photograph was taken on the last day of the Battle of Berlin, the final major offensive of the European theatre of World War II. Many photographers took photos of flags on the roof, but it was Khaldei's image that became the most successful and recognized. Identity of the photographer was not unknown until the fall of the Soviet Union. The photo itself is just a reconstruction of the actual moment that happened earlier but had been missed by the camera.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Power of One

Author: Oded Bality
Picture date: February 1, 2006

A lone Jewish settler challenges Israeli security officers during clashes that erupted as authorities cleared the West Bank settlement of Amona, east of the Palestinian town of Ramallah. Thousands of troops in riot gear and on horseback clashed with hundreds of stone-throwing Jewish settlers holed up in this illegal West Bank outpost after Israel’s Supreme Court cleared the way of demolition of nine homes at the site - from the Pulitzer Prizes website.

This fascinating photo shows the essence of struggle and sets two ideologies against each other. A woman which had nothing to lose fights against ruthless government wanting to destroy her home. She is willing to defend her cause with all her powers, and the picture shows she is doing it successfully.

The picture won the Pulitzer Award in Breaking news photography category in 2007. Author's interpretation of the photo is the modern version of David against Goliath. Even though he did not meet her, he adores this woman for her courage and bravery.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Tank Man

Author: Jeff Widener
Picture date: June 5, 1989

Picture depicts an unknown man who stopped a column of armoured tanks on the morning when Chinese military forces removed protesters from the Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. This man achieved widespread recognition in newspapers around the world and is also known as Unknown Rebel.

This photograph received worldwide recognition because it showed that an unarmed man with only shopping bags was able to stop armoured tanks. Video footage of the incident shows that the man jumped on the first tank and had a short conversation with tank driver. The picture brought hope that there may be a way for a non-violent in communist China.

On the day of the incident, four different photographers shot the scene, but Mr. Widener's photo was most used by newspapers. His version is tighter that other photographs and was made from a lower floor of the hotel, closest to the ground, and captured a face-to-face meeting between the lone man and the driver of the first tank. It was shot with Nikon FE2 camera by Mr. Widener who was injured and suffered from flu.

To this day, the identity and fate of the man in the picture remain unclear. A riveting documentary, The Tank Man, by PBS Frontline in 2006 explored his fate. Yet still no one knows for certain who he is or what exactly happened to him. The image is largely blocked on the Internet in China. Despite its iconic status and historical significance elsewhere, most young people there do not recognize the photograph.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Raising the Flag at Ground Zero

Author: Thomas E. Franklin
Picture date: September 11, 2001
Published: The Record front page, September 12, 2001

The picture was taken hours after terrifying terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. It depicts firefighters raising the American flag at ground zero of collapsed skyscrapers. The Record's original name for the photograph is Ground Zero Spirit. Photo appeared also on the covers of several other newspapers around the world.

Photograph was shot shortly after 5 PM with a telephoto lens. Mr. Franklin came to Ground Zero by the Hudson River around noon after the towers collapsed. Firefighters were raising the American flag coming from a yacht named Star of America which was docked on the Hudson River.

The picture became the symbol of the American solidarity after terrorist attack on New York and Washington. It shows hope that the USA will reborn and become as united and stronger than ever. The United States Postal Service featured this photo on their "Heroes" stamp. Additionally, profits from stamps, which estimated over ten million dollars, were transferred to families and rescue workers of 9/11.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper


Author: Charles C. Ebbets
Picture date: September 29, 1932
Published: New York Herald Tribune, October 2, 1932

This famous picture depicts eleven workers eating lunch and seating on a girder above New York City streets. Photo is very spectacular as men are sitting without any safety protections very high above city landscape. This dizzying picture shows courage of men working on construction sites.

Photograph was taken on 69th floor of the RCA building, which was later renamed as GE Building, during its last months of construction. Author of the picture was unknown for many decades until 2003 after months of investigation. Identities of most workers were provided by their descendants or relatives. Mr. Ebbets took a similar picture named Men Asleep on a Girder.

Picture became one of the most famous posters of the world and shows the spirit of risk-taking New York builders and their bravery.

Monday, 29 August 2011

V–J day in Times Square

Author: Alfred Eisenstaedt
Picture date: August 14, 1945 
Published: Life magazine, August 1945

Picture portraits an American sailor kissing a young nurse in a white dress in Times Square. Photograph was taken on the day of Victory over Japan when Japan surrendered and World War II was definitely over. People went out on streets to celebrate the good news, happy that six year-long war finally ended.

This picture is well-known for its spontaneity and joyful moment. The contrast between black and white uniforms makes even bigger impact and emphasizes emotions. The photo became very popular overnight and is remembered as a symbol of victory. Names of the sailor and nurse unknown for many years. Photographer did not have a chance to get their names since they vanished in the crowd very soon.

On the day this picture was taken, Mr. Eisenstaedt was walking through New York streets and looking for an interesting frame to commemorate this glorious day. He saw a man grabbing and kissing many women, older and younger. He followed him and took many pictures of him kissing many ladies. But he did not have the picture until the man met the nurse. When he framed and shot, he knew: this was the picture.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Afghan Girl Photograph

Author: Steve McCurry
Published: National Geographic Magazine, June 1985

Because no one could identify the girl from the picture, it was simply titled "the Afghan Girl". It presents an Afghan refugee which was met by the photographer at Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan in 1984. Because of Soviet aircraft attack, the girl became an orphan. The picture is National Geographic Magazine's most recognized photography in its history. Also, it became a symbol of the Afghan conflict and refugee situation in the world.

The picture is very emotional and sears the heart. Girl's eyes are green and very deep, the tragedy of her situation may be read just from her eyes in the land drained by war.

The girl was found after 17 years by McCurry and National Geographic team in 2002. Her real name is Sharbat Gula.