Jeff Widener and that roll of film

Historic June 8, 2012 4:30 pm

Jeff Widener/AP - via TIME LightBox


I loved reading this piece on the Tank Man photo shot by Jeff Widener, and the man who got Jeff the last role of film and then managed to get the film out. Amazing how things can happen; images that are burned in our memory could have so easily never existed.

“Twenty-three years ago today, Jeff Widener ran out of film during the most important assignment of his life.

The brutal crackdown at Tiananmen Square was underway and Widener, a photographer for the Associated Press, was sent to the square to capture the scene. “I rode a bicycle to the Beijing Hotel,” Widener says. “Upon my arrival, I had to get past several Chinese security police in the lobby. If they stopped and searched me, they would have found all my gear and film hidden in my clothes.” But there, in the shadows of the hotel entrance, he saw a long-haired college kid wearing a dirty Rambo t-shirt, shorts and sandals. “I yelled out, ‘Hi Joe! Where you been?’ and then whispered that I was from AP.” Widener remembers. He asked to go to the young man’s room. “He picked up on it,” says Widener, “and out of the corner of my eye I could see the approaching security men turn away, thinking I was a hotel guest.” From TIME LightBox

Read the rest on the TIME LightBox site, here.

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