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.