Friday, June 17, 2011

"The kiss" ... the best photo from the Vancouver riots

I don't see all that many news photos that make me look for more than a few seconds.

However, an image that came out of the Vancouver riots this week is different.

Some are saying it might become "as iconic as the famous Life magazine shot of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square the day World War II ended."

The photo in question is known simply as "The Kiss." Some websites are calling it the "Kissing Couple."

From ABC News:
Just who were those people? And how did they get caught up in such a passionate kiss, right there in the middle of the riots in Vancouver, British Columbia? There was anger and violence all around them -- the Vancouver Canucks had just lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of hockey's Stanley Cup finals.

The picture of them, by Vancouver freelance photographer Richard Lam, has gone viral on the Web. One headline called it "love among the ruins." History will decide, but one could imagine it becoming as iconic as the famous Life magazine shot of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square the day World War II ended.

The young lovers -- if Australia's Channel 9 has the story right -- are Scott Jones, 29, from the Australian city of Perth, and his Canadian girlfriend, Alex Thomas. The Vancouver Sun said Thomas is a student at the University of Guelph in Ontario.

The Toronto Star has posted a slide show here of other images made before and after. The photographer, Richard Lam, didn't get a chance to talk to the couple after making the image.

"I was trying not to get my ass kicked," Lam said when asked if he'd stopped to talk to the couple.

In an email to Esquire magazine Lam writes: "I was covering last night's Stanley Cup Playoffs for Getty Images when Vancouver erupted in riots after the Canucks' Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins. It was complete chaos. Rioters set two cars on fire and then I saw looters break the window at a neighboring department store. At that point, the riot police charged right towards us. After I stopped running, I noticed in the space behind the line of police that two people were laying in the street with the riot police and a raging fire just beyond them. I knew I had captured a "moment" when I snapped the still forms against the backdrop of such chaos but it wasn't until later when I returned to the rink to file my photos that my editor pointed out that the two people were not hurt, but kissing."

Related story here.

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