While putting some miles under my feet hiking a few weekends ago my buddy asked me, "What is your favorite photograph?" For some reason, now after returning home, his question popped back into my head again and as a result I am embarrassed as to how I responded. In the moment I thought he was asking what my favorite image was that I had personally taken. Maybe he was... then again, maybe he wasn't and I proved myself a bit vain as a result. It's been known to happen. But, if he was asking what my favorite photograph was regardless of who raised the shutter, there is without hesitation one answer. It's this one:
If you made it down to this line without a grin from ear to ear, you'd better do a pulse check. This shot was taken by one of the greats, Alfred Eisenstaedt, years ago in Paris from the fascinating perspective of a puppeteers booth. Heard of him? Mr. Eisenstaedt? He was one of the kingpin photographers of LIFE magazine, and to me one of the greatest ever. Here's a little more history 101 on this photograph:
Children react to the story of "Saint George and the Dragon," the moment the dragon is slain, at the Guignol puppet show, Parc de Montsouris in the Tuileries, Paris, France. Eisenstaedt said of this photograph, "It took a long time to get the angle I liked, but the best picture is the one I took at the climax of the action. It carries all the excitement of the children screaming, "The dragon is slain!" Very often this sort of thing is only a momentary vision, my brain does not register, only my eyes and finger react. Click."
I'm not a psychologist, but I truly believe the reason I admire this image is because I cannot decide which expression on a given child I appreciate the most. Just when I decide on say, the girl in the lower right with the sweet glasses, my mind tells me no... you like the girl in the upper left holding her mouth the best. And so on and so on, I can never decide. This pic is a real corker and has held me captive for many long years.
So there you have it, my favorite photograph ever taken. If some day I can snap one even comparable to this, I'll ask to be called "Alfred" from then on. Peace...