The heartwarming and Photoshop-ready picture of a Vancouver pair making out during last night’s post-Stanley Cup riots in Canada took over the world (and especially the internet) today. To hear him tell it, the photograph, by Getty Images stringer Rich Lam, was pure luck. “I was trying not to get my ass kicked,” he said to the Vancouver Sun. “I didn’t even look at it. A colleague said ‘nice photo’. Then I went back to the editing room, and looked at it. My jaw dropped.” But the above shot, from another angle, makes the whole thing look staged. (Update: Everyone involved says it’s legit! And now there’s video confirmation — see below.)
We’re not sure where the one up top (hosted on Facebook) came from, but it’s all over comment sections far and wide, where all internet cynics come to play.
Many cried that the instantly iconic shot was manipulated as it first made the rounds online this morning, but Lam spoke with NPR, the New York Daily News, MSN and more about the photo and said no such thing about staging or digital altering.
“I don’t want to sound idealistic,” he told the Sun, “but I was just doing my job.”
Lam said that at first he thought people were hurt, which could explain what’s going on in the alternate angle above, but it also could easily be posing. It wouldn’t be the first time in the history of the image.
No one has found the couple yet, but unconfirmed witnesses are coming out of the woodwork with one noting, “fyi, the girl appeared to hurt her ankle and that is why the photo was able to come into existence.”
We reached out to Lam, whose official website is here, and he told us he was “swamped.”
He pointed us toward Getty and we’ll update if we hear back.
Update: The identity of the couple is no longer a mystery — it’s Scott Jones, 29, and his girlfriend Alexandra Thomas, the Vancouver Star reports. They spoke with Scott’s dad, Brett Jones. “She had actually been injured,” he said, keeping with the above version of events. “She had been knocked down by a shield.”
“He lay down next to her to comfort her. She was crying and he just kissed her to calm her down.”
Love is real.
Update 2: Now the Sun reports that they’ve obtained video of the event, which they turned into a sequential photographic slideshow. Here’s a statement from the rooftop videographer:
“I was trapped on the roof of the parkade on Seymour between Georgia and Robson on the night of the riot. I am a student photographer and I shot some images and video from the roof. It’s not the clearest footage but I think it shows that they are not kissing, and that she is injured. It also shows the boy, who she may or may not have known, trying to protect her from the riot squad… I would like to clear up the situation so that the jokes at this poor girls expense can end.”