Looking for an Icon (2007)
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On the eve of the World Press Photo Contest's 50th anniversary, filmmakers Hans Pool and Maaik Krijgsman explore the stories behind four photographs that forever changed the course of contemporary photojournalism. It was in 1955 that the Dutch photojournalists' union made the decision to… More On the eve of the World Press Photo Contest's 50th anniversary, filmmakers Hans Pool and Maaik Krijgsman explore the stories behind four photographs that forever changed the course of contemporary photojournalism. It was in 1955 that the Dutch photojournalists' union made the decision to hold an international competition that would determine the photo of the year, and after Denmark's Mogens von Haven was honored for his compelling image of a motorcyclist spinning out of control, the event that was originally staged as a one-off celebration of the world's finest photojournalism would fast become an annual event. Its criteria subsequently updated to ensure that the winning photograph demonstrated "an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity," The World Press Photo Contest would consistently single out some of the most arresting images ever committed to celluloid. Numerous winners of the competition would advance to become icons in the field of photojournalism, and in this documentary Pool and Krijgsman focus their attentions on four such photographers. The first image detailed was captured by Eddie Adams on the second day of the Viet Cong's Tet offensive in Saigon's Chinese quarter. Taken on a Saigon street, Adam's photograph captured the precise moment that South Vietnam Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed a suspected Viet Cong member. The second photograph profiled was an anonymous snapshot of Chilean president Salvador Allende that surfaced four months after his government fell in the 1973 military coup and is widely considered to be the last known photograph of Allende. And the third photograph is Charlie Cole's image of a pro-democracy activist confronting a stream of military tanks as they attempt to make their way into Tiananmen Square. The final photograph was taken by David Turnley during the Gulf War, and captures the wrenching moment when U.S. sergeant Ken Kozakiewicz learned that his friend and fellow soldier Andy Alaniz had been gunned down in "friendly fire." ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
If a great photograph is one that is symbolic, inviting us to project our wide-ranging interpretations onto them, then the images selected for deconstruction by Hans Pool and Maaik Krijgsman are almost beyond reproach.
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