These two images are uncanny, in composition and sentiment conveyed. They are more than six decades apart and as such were taken in almost two separate worlds. From observing the two photos however the social context doesn't seem to have changed much, but that's just at first glance.
The highly iconic and replicated image is candid-photograph master Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo “VJ Day”. It was taken with a Leica on August 15, 1945, in New York’s Times Square. Eisenstaedt recalls every sailor running along Times Square grabbing any and every girl in sight and decided to attempt to snap one of these exchanges in action. And as a birdwatcher would, “I [Eisenstaedt] saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse.”
The Vancouver Riot Kiss Photo, taken last year, was snapped up by photojournalist Rich Lam amid angry Canucks fans from whom the Stanley Cup was taken. Take closer look at the subject matter, the blurry background, and the positioning of the male on top the female. Uncanny to the first photograph isn’t it?
While we can only speculate why it is Hollywood, from the early days till present, favors churning out images of this sort of passionate embrace rather than say, with the woman in the dominant position, it’s proven to have withstood the test of time as it remains the most popular. One can’t help but find it romantic, as do I, but it’s interesting and we should question why it is this is our social default.
This article was inspired by this Lost At E Minor piece.