I started a new personal project a few months ago. I am re-evaluating my top 10 favorite photos. I’ll post them here in descending order along with rationale for each choice. As usual, your comments are welcome. I already gave away #4 in a recent post. I’ll tell that story when I get to it.
My response to good photography is an inquisitive internal dialog that can last decades. The questions can be profound or simple, like for this photo. I asked myself, why is that man crying? I’ve spent many long years looking for a deeper answer.
Actually, when I first saw this photo 30-years ago in a high school textbook, the question was, “Why is that bus driver crying?” I did not understand the historical significance of the photo. A kind teacher, now forgotten, spent the better part of his lunch hour explaining the significance of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the American public. He explained that he too had cried upon learning of Roosevelt's death even though he was thousands of miles away fighting a war.
I learned about the importance of iconic photo’s from this image. The lesson stayed with me. Now, by reflex, I look for the story within a photo. I look for real emotion in perfect moments that capture history. I research iconic photos looking for bias and political manipulation. It helps me appreciate truly transformative photography while developing a level of discernment which keeps the political hacks at bay. The nation really mourned for Roosevelt back in 1945 despite what modern-day revisionist Republican political monkeys would have us believe. If they could have their way, pictures like this would just fade away.