For the second time in the last few months, an iconic New York photograph is being outed as being staged. Earlier this year we reported that the famous shot of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, was staged between two strangers who didn’t know each other and the World War II hero’s future wife was standing in the background.
Today on the 80th anniversary of the shot called “Lunch atop a skyscraper,”where 11 steel workers are sitting fearlessly having lunch on an 8 inch girder 850 feet above the city, it is being reported that the shot was a publicity stunt.
The shot’s mass appeal has always been in the men’s calm demeanor, that they are casually eating sandwiches and smoking cigarettes high above Manhattan on what was the steel frame of 30 Rockefeller Center.
Ken Johnston, who is a historian for Corbis photo agency, which owns the photo rights, says the shot was staged and probably not taken by famed photographer Charles C. Ebbets. “The image was a publicity effort by Rockefeller Center.”
Ebbets has always been credited for the iconic image but Johnston says that he wasn’t the only shooter that day. “It seems pretty clear they were real workers, but the event was organized with a number of photographers.”
Wow, is anything what we thought it was in the 20th century? Now I know why there are conspiracy theorists out there that say the moon landing was filmed in a Hollywood sound stage.
For more on the story, check out our friends at [Smithsonian]