The past year has been nothing short of explosive—from politics to social change, from collective protest to natural disasters. It has also been an immeasurable year for photographers. This shot, “Vancouver Riot Kiss,” taken by Richard Lam (Getty Images), is part of a larger series presented by BuzzFeed.com—The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011. Whereas such a title could comprise a near-endless collection of images, this list certainly does promote the power of the frozen frame. Yes, some of the greatest shots are often pre- and proceeded by dozens within the set, but the ones that freeze into our minds and hearts typically do so on a universal level—because they represent something that resonates within us all. Rioting, protest, and overall activism were at the top of a competitive list of defining characteristics for the past year. But this photograph (which is nearing iconic status), of a young man kissing his girlfriend after she was knocked down in a riot in Vancouver on June 15th this year, almost doesn’t need a description—though, if you need one, here it is. Funny, as much as this photo does or doesn’t say about humanity, the reaction to it perhaps says even more. Within days, people around the world were nearly at each other’s throats to discount or confirm the validity of it—which is awfully metaphorical if you think about it. Why can’t it just be a guy kissing a girl within the chaos of modern life? Or, if nothing else, the representation of it? Maybe that’s an essay to come. With a year’s worth of turbulence behind us, we can only wonder what looms ahead. Does love conquer all? That’s a question we each must answer for ourselves. This image certainly makes a strong case for it.
The Good Stuff: The True Power of the Frozen Frame
December 7, 2011 4:45 pm