There have been a couple of opportunities for Boston sport fans to be happy these days. The Red Sox did a tremendous road trip against AL opponents winning 8 to 1 including a sweep of the Yankees at NY. As a French man I have few baseball ADN running through my blood. Actually BB is a sport completely ignored in Europe, but as far as I am concerned I used to play a simplified version of it when I was a kid. And also my cousin would play in what was then the best BB club in France back then and I remember his baseball glove hanging in his room quite well. Now living in the US I like that sport quite a lot, and my kids have a solid knowledge of it – though they don’t play so far.
But the very reason why people are happy here right now is that the Boston Bruins just won the Stanley Cup. The Bruins are the local Hockey franchise and the Stanley Cup is awarded to the winner of the North-American Hockey League (NHL) yearly championship i.e. the most prestigious Hockey competition beside Olympics. The Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in a 7 final game series.
Unlike baseball I don’t really care about Hockey (I am not sure who of those now wearing Bruins jersey in the street and at their office really care about Hockey by the way …) and what I will remember about all that is probably more this photograph – that I guess lots of SP-ers would love.
The final game was held in Vancouver and there have been riots in the aftermath of the Canucks’ defeat. Images of angry people breaking shop windows etc… because their team lost is not very usual in North America (*) – unfortunately it is something we are much used to in Europe for soccer games.
But Rich Lam, a Vancouver-based photographer, did this shot of a young couple seemingly not bothered by the ongoing riot. A contemporary version of Doisneau’s “Baiser de l’hotel de ville” ? hmmm… I find it has sort of a feel of the iconic Tiananmen photograph instead – though of course these Vancouver events are in no way as dramatic as what happened in China back in 1989. I don’t know if it adds to the drama or instead makes it smoother. I tend to feel the latter but that is just me…
Now the interesting fact about such a picture being shot in a world that now has Twitter and Photoshop is that 1. it goes viral (as one now says) and 2. fake versions (**) now pop up here and here in less the time that was necessary to develop film rolls when photojournalists used to shoot film. Indeed there is now very little time for a potential iconic shot to gently make its way. One wonders which of the fake pics, the endless internet discussions, the related blog entries (such as this one) rather than the original shot itself makes the story here. I believe that being a photojournalist in 2011 can really be frustrating.
(*) Although officials were a little concerned about the possible grim outcomes of a win (or a loss) here in Boston too. I read stories in the local papers about that before the game series. Actually there have been a couple of tragic events following sport celebration in the recent years here. The last being when the Red-Sox won the World Series in 2004 and a young student died during the celebration. There was a photographer who took the picture of her lying on the ground after she was – accidentally – hit by something and I read his story somewhere on the internet last year. He explained how he was trashed for that picture he did, receiving tons of insults in his email-box.
(**) I remember few years ago there was a girl who became “famous” because a not-so-gracious portrait of her was cloned in grotesque situations and posted to many forum boards. That was the pre-FB/Twitter era, i.e. people did not say “social network” back then…