IGNORE THE DAILY MAIL: That 1932 Shot Of Rockefeller Construction Workers Was NOT A PR Stunt

daily mail

Photo: Daily Mail

The Daily Mail got excited today over the idea that the famous photo of steel construction workers eating lunch on a beam atop the Rockefeller centre in New York may have been faked as a PR stunt to promote the new building.As “proof,” the Mail has found a second “rarely seen” image from the shoot showing the workers napping on the beam, and generally looking a lot less appealing and photogenic as the iconic Corbis image.

The workers were thus posed in the lunch-eating scene, because they didn’t behave that way in real life, the Mail concludes.

It’s baloney.

A 5 minute search through the current AP Photo archive produces this photo (below) from Sept. 29, 1932, just nine days after the Corbis image was taken. It’s just as “rarely seen” as the Mail’s new image, because it isn’t quite as characterful as the Corbis scene. It shows steel workers sitting on a different beam but doing almost identical things —eating, slouching, smoking — as the Corbis image.

Could it possibly be that steel workers frequently ate lunch together perched on the steel beams they were constructing, and thus did not need much wrangling for PR purposes?

Almost certainly: As the Mail admits lower in its story, neither the photographer nor any of the men in the picture have ever been positively identified — so we’ll never know exactly how it was taken.

Here’s the AP’s pic:

rockefeller beam workers lunch construction

Photo: AP

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