Men at Lunch is an amazing new documentary film by Seán Ó Cualáin that explores the story of one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century: Lunch atop a Skyscraper. the 1932 photo of eleven construction workers taking a lunch break while sitting on a girder suspended 850 feet above New York City.
It was taken on September 29, 1932 from the 69th floor of the RCA building during its last few months of construction. Despite being published in the New York Herald Tribune a few days later, the photo spent the better part of the past century either misattributed or marked with “photographer unknown”. Not until 2003 did a thorough investigation uncover Ebbets as the photographer behind the image.
Men at Lunch doesn’t focus on the technical details of the photograph or the photographer behind the camera, but instead peers into the photograph itself to answer questions about the subjects. The description on the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) site states,
Ever since the photograph was published anonymously in the New York Herald Tribune on October 2, 1932, the men’s identities have been a mystery. Many of those who have been fascinated by the photo throughout the years have shared the conviction that one of the workers is a distant relative; others, meanwhile, have questioned the photo’s authenticity outright. Accessing the vast photography archives at Rockefeller Center and the Iron Mountain storage facility in Pennsylvania, Ó Cualáin follows the clues in an attempt to discover the photo’s long-held secrets. With the meticulous, painstaking precision of a detective, Ó Cualáin tracks down the original glass-plate negative, and then reconstructs the photograph as a digital projection with actors recreating the workers’ poses, allowing the minutiae of the image to be studied from every possible perspective. Interviews with archivists, photographers, and historians eventually uncover compelling evidence that a few of the photo’s subjects may have roots in the small village of Shanaglish, Ireland.
P.S. 30 Rock, which began here in 2006, will tape here until late 2012 or early 2013
On of the neat things about working at Google is the fact that the company loves letting its employees hear from the world’s best minds through the AtGoogleTalks. Through the series of lectures, Google invites well-known individuals to share on their area of expertise for 40-70 minutes. In addition to the thousands of politicians, musicians, and entertainers who have shared so far, there have also been a number of photographers invited for Photographers@Google presentations.
The video above shows a lecture given by HDR landscape photographer Trey Ratcliff last year.
It’s actually the second time he spoke at @Google. The first time was a year earlier as part of the Authors@Google series, when he talked about his new book on HDR and the photos that went into it: