Wot a picture, wot a photograph

September 16, 2007

Move over Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass and all the BBC noddies. It’s the photographer’s turn at fakery. From The Observer,

The iconic image of the young John F Kennedy Jr saluting the coffin of his assassinated father reappeared on television and in newspapers last month, accompanying obituaries for Joe O’Donnell that lauded him as one of the greats of American photojournalism.
There was one problem. O’Donnell, who died in August aged 85, did not take the picture. In fact, it has emerged, it was just one of many of the 20th century’s most celebrated shots for which he had quietly, and falsely, claimed credit…
…One notable picture shows Richard Nixon jabbing Nikita Khrushchev in the chest during a bad-tempered encounter at the so-called ‘kitchen debate’ in Moscow in 1959. The man who took it, Elliott Erwitt, was astonished when he watched a TV interview in which O’Donnell claimed to have shot it himself. ‘Unbelievable,’ Erwitt said. ‘The picture is so well known…’
…O’Donnell’s family told the New York Times that his claims were not made out of greed or fraud, but were the confused statements of a senile old man. They fear the criticism will overshadow his genuine work… link



Topics: