6 Famous Shots That Were Set Up


For the perfect iconic photo, place and time are the only things that matter. However, this rule doesn't seem to be true for the photographers of the following pictures, whose shots are passed to history, but didn't immortalize something spontaneous. These photos are somehow "rigged" by the cameramen and each of them hides a different story about how it was taken, and why it was so important.

The Kiss At The Hotel De Ville
The famous black and white photo by photographer Robert Doisneau, starring a couple kissing with the town hall of Paris in the background was actually "rigged". In 1950, Life magazine commissioned the agency where Robert Doisneau worked, to deliver a story about lovers in Paris.
This photograph admittedly captures the romantic side of the French capital, but was it spontaneous? In 1993, a couple sued against Doisneau, arguing that they had been captured without their permit. This lawsuit did forced the photographer to reveal that the couple in the photo was the then 20-year old Fran├žois Ntelmpar and the 23 year old Zach Card, ambitious actors who posed for Doisneau.
Indeed, the protagonist sold in 2005 the original copy with the photographer's stamp for 155,000 euros.

The London Milkman
The Blitz was the period of strategic bombing of the United Kingdom by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. A signature picture from that period is the Londoner milkman who walks over the rubble.
However, this popular picture is set up. According to the Telegraph, the man depicted is not a milkman but the assistant photographer Fred Morley of Fox Photos.
Specifically, the photographer borrowed a milkman's uniform, packed the bottles and asked his assistant to pose in the street ruins, while firefighters struggled with the flames.
In this picture, the ingenious Morley wanted to bypass censorship that reject images with damaged roads that would discouraged the world, by capturing a photo in the ruins that would inspire people. The reasoning, according to the Telegraph, were to present things in a way that strengthened the phrase "keep calm and carry on."

Lunch atop a Skyscraper
At the 80th birthday of the photo, in 2012, it was revealed that this picture was not as spontaneous as everyone believed. This is one of the most iconic images in the history of New York.
Although the protagonists were builders working on the construction of Rockefeller Center, the "shot" was set up in order to promote the new skyscraper.
Captured on September 20, 1932, the purpose of photography was to look like a random break lunch of the workers in the RCA building, part of Rockefeller Center.
"The photo was part of the promotional effort for Rockefeller Center. The workers are real workers but the whole process was organized with many photographers, " said Ken Johnston, chief historian at Corbis Images, describing the photo as "a piece of american history".
Note that the negative of the image is stored in a room with controlled temperature.

Flag Over Reichstag
This is probably one of the most historic photos of all time. The iconic image shows a Soviet soldier to raise the Soviet flag with the hammer and the sickle on the roof of the German parliament, the Reichstag, thus marking the end of World War II in Europe.
The famous "document" was immortalized by the photographer Yevgeny Khaldoun who served in the Red Army. On May 2, 1945 after many bloody battles, three soldiers managed to climb to the top of the building. According to the official story, the soldiers who climbed were two: Meliti Kadar and Mikhail Giegkorof. However, according to several historians, the one who really raised the flag was Alexei Kovaliof, who later was ordered to keep quiet about the incident.
According to Time magazine, the soldiers had in their suitcases the soviet flag and were instructed to take the photo. In any case, no one denies that the photo was the result of a director, and its history of reception is even more complicated with several reports of falsifications.

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
A woman-symbol in the struggle of African Americans for equal rights had refused to cede her position on the bus to a white passenger. That woman was Rosa Parks who fight for equality. Her decision not to concede her position led to the boycott of public transport of Alabama in 1955, a decisive movement against racial segregation in the US.
According to Time magazine, several photos used to accompany articles about Rosa Parks, were taken some time after its inception (December 1, 1955). "People say that I did not give my seat because I was tired," wrote Parks in her autobiography, "but this is not true. "
As it's reported by the New York Times, in this photograph, that was taken on December 21, 1956, behind Rosa Parks sits Nicholas Chris, a reporter who worked for United Press International. The day before, US Supreme Court annulled the law for racial segregation on buses.
Parkes told the author Douglas Brinklei that at first, he was hesitant about the photo but the journalists and members of the movement wanted a picture to describe what was really happening.
"It was a 100% rigged," he said. However, this doesn't alter in the slightest the fact that Rosa Parks dedicated her life to improve the living conditions of millions oppressed African-Americans from the practices of racial discriminations.

Battle of Gettysburg
One of the most iconic photos of the Civil War, captured at the greatest conflict among Northern and Southern that is often described as the war's turning point, is the Battle of Gettysburg, at the same name small town of Pennsylvania, Gettysburg. However, according to the Washington Post, this photo is more a directing product than a real documentary picture.
Specifically, the photographer Alexander Gardner had created his own album with photos of the American Civil «Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War» in 1865. About 110 years later, the historian William A. Frassanito completed his own research of the photos.
According to Frassanito, the photographer with his assistants found an almost intact corpse of a soldier and exploited him as much as possible.
After taking a picture on the spot where the corpse was, then they carried him to take more photos. One of the images would be the photo that was connected like no other with the battle (second image). In 1975, Frassanito revealed the scam in his book «Gettysburg: A Journey in Time».

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