Let’s face it… it was not our finest hour. But one of the few positive things to come out of the Vancouver Riot (2011 version) is the fact we WON (no, not game 7, sorry) the Esquire Magazine “Photo of the Year” as announced yesterday.
You’ll have seen the image – the couple lying in the middle of the street, surrounded by riot police, chaos and destruction; sharing a tender moment while the world crashes down around them.
There were claims the Getty Images shot was Photoshopped or that the whole thing was a setup but after the inevitable frenzied media hunt for the couple, Scott Jones and Alex Thomas were tracked down to give their side of events – and video taken from a rooftop above confirms their story.
They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time; they were knocked to the ground in a surge by the riot squad and Alex, who was terrified, was simply being comforted by her boyfriend – in Canada from Australia, where his Dad was also giving interviews to the media.
The fact the story had a happy ending – that they weren’t hurt and that it was a genuinely fragile moment in a maelstrom of insanity – makes the award a poignant one.
It might not be a sailor kissing a surprised young woman in Times Square on V.J. Day, or a lone man standing in front of a tank, but the image is from the vein of the “new iconic photograph” – published around the world in mere hours, dissected on talk shows and comedy news and representative of a memory – good or bad, in our history.
Do you have a favourite iconic photograph?