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Submitted on
January 9, 2013
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Whilst the most famous photographs from across the years often feature famine, death, destruction and war, it's sometimes refreshing to catch a glimpse of one or two that don't exhibit depression, demise and conflict. Photo-journalism can work both ways to brief the viewer of an image on what it's like to step into somebody else's shoes. It can shock, bring a tear or even, by some miracle - a smile.

Lunch Atop A SkyScraper does exactly that. It provokes a smile, it features across the world in postcards, books, greeting cards and other formats and ultimately it tugs at that part of your heart that knows there can be good in the world. So what makes it famous?


Source: Wikipedia


The Photograph itself shows eleven working men eating lunch, sitting on a steel girder. Nothing extraordinary about that right? Wrong. Their feet are dangling 256 metres above New York City. Nobody actually knows who took it, although some credits have gone to Charles C Ebbets or Lewis Hine in the past - Corbis acquired the glass negative in 1995. It shows a light hearted moment with an underlying tone of depression. Why? Because the workers are hanging out above the streets of New York without any safety harness to speak of. Since it was taken during the time of the Great Depression it speaks of the willingness to take any job, regardless of safety and health.

Investigations in more recent years have suggested that the Photograph was staged as part of a promotional shoot by the RockeFeller center promoting its new skyscraper. Regardless though, the message is still there, the workers are still real and the sheer bravery and audacity of the men involved is undeniable.

During Photography month at #ArtHistoryProject we have been exploring iconic historical photographs, and the elements that have made them increasingly famous across the years. This article explores Lunch atop a skyscraper.
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:iconjjmcge:
jjmcge Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013
I am always amazed and encouraged by the audacity and the courage of those men, as well as being a bit depressed at their working conditions.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Me too :nod:
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:iconlove2learn:
Love2Learn Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Actually, in 2003, a group of private investigators, lawyers and a photo historian did look into who took it and concluded it was Charles C. Ebbets who took it in 1932 when he was working as the photographic director for the Rockefeller Center construction. Some Irish filmmakers recently suggested it was uncertain because of a photo containing that of another photographer at the Rock center during that time, but no proof was ever brought forward to conclude that it was anyone other than Ebbets that took it.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent information thank you :)
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:iconnameda:
Nameda Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
I couldnt sit that high, with out any safety measures I love that photo.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Me neither :D
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:iconnameda:
Nameda Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
great work you do with your behind the photo stories
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:iconlion6255:
Lion6255 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wonderful Photo and storyline.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:)
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:iconchristianonfire7:
Christianonfire7 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That is such a great photo and the back story of it. Thanks for sharing.
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