Since Jonathan Bachman’s image of Baton Rouge protestor Iesha Evans went viral, a lot of discussion has fomented around whether the image is truly iconic. Some have called the image “legendary” and compared it to other iconic images like the Tianamen Square “Tank Man,” while others have dismissed the comparison as an insult and evidence of liberal bias in the mainstream media.
Photographer and Writer Michael David Murphy chimed in a with a detailed visual analysis of the elements that he thought made the image so powerful, and it was this piece that led us to a conversation about iconic images in a special podcast. Here’s a breakdown of the conversation:
2:07 Jonathan Bachman’s Baton Rouge protestor
2:59 What makes an image iconic?
4:30 Does an iconic image need to be technically perfect?
5:58 Does the public underestimate the difficulty of capture a great photojournalistic image?
7:22 Comments from the internet
8:38 The commenter is talking about “everything beyond the frame”
10:23 Michael analyzes Bachman’s image
13:20 Is the image staged? What does this mean in the Instagram age?
17:40 Misremembering Tank Man
18:13 Kent State Massacre
18:45 Is the video of Tank Man more powerful than the still?
19:45 Is Tank Man a western-iconic image?
21:55 Are they iconic because we know “exactly where I was” when it happened?
22:38 Rob Cohen’s Man Throwing Back Tear Gas
26:28 John Tlumacki’s Boston Bombing Massacre
26:56 Nick Ut’s Napalm Girl
27:14 Eddie Adam’s Execution
27:39 Gordon Park’s Colored Entrance
30:17 The fallibility of memory: Ali vs Liston
31:21 The virality of Bachman’s image in a social media age
33:18 Why don’t some prize winning images last the test of time?
34:20 John Stanmeyer’s Signals from Djibouti
37:37 People were “thirsty” for Bachman’s image
39:05 On David Shields’ “war photography is too beautiful”
41:24 Bachman’s image: an “instant classic” or truly “iconic”