The most talked about photo from last week – and indeed for some time – was Richard Lam’s riot kiss in Vancouver. Naturally many wannabe image experts made fools of themselves by instantly branding the picture a fake. Esquire went to the opposite extreme, declaring it not just the best photo of the night, but “maybe of all time”. Ten reasons why they’re wrong:

1. Digital Photography Review Expert Analysis™ identifies multiple technical failures: burned-out highlights, incorrect white balance and poor composition.

2. The photographer neglected to use the World Press Photo recommended formula: convert to b/w, burn down 2 stops, add 100% contrast, run Tunnel Vision™ vignette plug-in, re-crop with 20 degree angle and constrain to wrap.

3. The image clearly fails Alamy’s industry standard quality control: “contains excessive noise, and soft or lacking definition”.

4. Shot by a photographer in his own town, the image fails the photojournalism travel test. Greatest-ever photos are invariably taken far from home, most often in Africa, the Middle East or Haiti. Never in Canada.

5. Not shot on a leicaPhone, the classic camera for all serious reportage.

6. No use of Hipstamatic, HDR or tone mapping: the image relies solely on content and sorely lacks post-processing gimmickry.

7. Not copied from Google Street View.

8. Ignores many of photography’s most basic tenets, including the vital rule of thirds, all of which are freely available on the Internet. Additionally displays shockingly poor bokeh.

9. Fails the flickr content test: image contains no sunsets or kittens.

10. It’s not even the best riot kiss photo ever.

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19 Responses to “10 Reasons This Isn’t The Greatest Photo Ever”

  1. Stefan Simonsen Stefan Simonsen says:

    Had a good laugh, thank you 😉

  2. Dick Hertz Dick Hertz says:

    Yea, it’s terrible! All it has is excleent timing and GREAT CONTENT! Be there when it happens and capture it! Richard is a real photojournalist! He nailed it and the REST OF YOU DIDN’T!

  3. […] them. A fake twitter account popped up; Esquire gushed it may be the greatest photo ever. (Still another tongue-in-cheek retort). In the end, it took a little more than 24 hours for details to emerge. [See the […]

  4. Jay Williams Jay Williams says:

    You’re wrong about the rule of thirds Jeremy. The most important element in this pic (let’s be honest), her lovely ass, is smack on a ‘thirds’ hotspot.

  5. Raskul Raskul says:

    Witty commentating Jeremy, but… in response to Jay Williams above… her ass aint that lovely, i’d swear her beaver needs a trim, I know there are bears in Canada but should our ladies really aspire to such hirsute achievements!?

    nevertheless, what the image has is timing, regardless of how amateur the composition.

  6. bycostello bycostello says:

    hahahahah…. #10 maybe true though…

  7. Jeremy admin says:

    Yeah Jay, but this version is cropped. In the original her ass is nowhere near the thirds hotspot. Cropped – another fail! That’s eleven reasons now 🙂

  8. wa-jerr wa-jerr says:

    Totally agree, It would benefit artistically if there would be few kittens playing around …. 🙂

  9. Jay Williams Jay Williams says:

    Hands up, I lose, that’s eleven reasons and counting………..

  10. tim tim says:

    still, it’s a nice shot. makes me wonder: what the hell were they doing? was it orchestrated..? that would taint it.

  11. Robert Dall Robert Dall says:

    I can honestly say from knowing the photographer personally, to knowing a number of people in the middle of that riot. This is not an orchestrated photo. But I really love the post it is really hilarious and sarcastic for anyone that has ever entered a photo in the World Press Photo Competition.

  12. Jim Jim says:

    I had a very good laugh. Thank you. In case no one has seen the news, ABC as well as other have the entire story of what happened. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY86ccy4jj4&feature=related @Tim, perhaps thinking before posting is a good idea. Who would ever orchestrate something like this in the middle of a riot? I was there in the thick of things and let me tell you that you would have to be very very stupid to pull a stunt like that. The police were not in a playful mood let me tell you.

  13. Jeremy admin says:

    If only the photographer had orchestrated the picture he could so easily have avoided many of the faults listed. A tripod would have helped with composition and sharpness; a simple hand metering over the subject would have solved the burned-out highlights; a lumedyne behind the riot cop would have filled the shadows & cleaned the colour.

    Of course as Jim says it can be hazardous doing all this in a riot, but there’s no reason for the photographer to take all or even any of the risks: isn’t that what assistants and interns are for?

  14. Hilarious! Thank you.

  15. […] The now famous Vancouver riot kiss? 10 Reasons This Isn’t The Greatest Photo Ever […]

  16. […] 10 Reasons This Isn’t The Greatest Photo Ever certainly made me laugh, and in the 10th – It’s not even the best riot kiss photo ever – he links to a picture by a friend of mine who recently began to collect his old-age pension too, who took a better one in 1990 along with many other fine images of the Poll Tax riots. […]

  17. John Richardson John Richardson says:

    Yeah, I forgot about the missing kittens … lol

  18. Chelsea Chelsea says:

    I love this photograph! It’s my background image. I’m a photographer and I hope this article was written jokingly! In that case, it’s funny. Otherwise, it’s scary.

    No one can declare the best photo of all time. That’s in the ‘eye of the beholder.’ We are all attracted to different images based on personal experience.

    No sunsets or kittens… thank God.

    As for white balance, many of us aim for the ‘perfection’ instilled by our photography professors, but the capture of this incredible moment is far more important. I consider it way better than that other riot kiss photo…

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