A “Real” Kiss

I’m working on a paper focusing on photo authenticity. What elements make a photography truly authentic? What photographs have more meaning, and why?

For this thesis I’m focusing on three photographs with a common subject: Kissing.

These photos include the recent “Riot Romeo” photo that I’ve shared article of this summer, Kiss by the Hotel Deville, and the infamous VJ DayKiss.

I don’t want to discuss it to much before I write the paper, but despite their similar focus, each of these photos were taken and recieved in different ways.

VJ Day was truly authentic, in my opinion, and, therefore my favorite. Alfred Eisenstaedt worked for Life magazine and found these two total strangers kissing among a mess of people. To this day, the real sailor is unknown. He talks about taking the famous short in a video I found, and he’s also a very interesting, and witty, man!

The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville was….spontaneous in a way… The photographer saw the couple, two actors studying at a school nearby, kissing and asked if they would pose for him in a series of places. he never admitted this until a couple tried to claim they were the “unknown” subjects in his photgraphs.

“Riot Romeo” was obviously taken a long time after these two but it still makes for interesting comparison. Obviously in this day and age it’s not hard to determine the subjects of photographs because there are cameras and videos everywhere. So instead of debating the authenticity of the people, there was a great debate over whether or not the photo in its entirety was real or Photoshopped. After video proof, however, it’s been made clear that this was a true case of being at the right place at the right time to catch a man simple trying to calm his girlfriend in a sea of chaos.

So, what makes a photo “real” to you? the detail? The idea? Or the validity of what really happened?

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