Fascinating Tiananmen Square photo (with bikes)

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Fascinating Tiananmen Square photo (with bikes)

Postby RobertFrith » Sun May 05, 2013 1:07 am

Saw this on Retronaut this evening. As a photographer I found it fascinating and needed to share it. There are lots of bikes in it. There's even a cargo bike.
This image is so full of ambiguity. The four figures have such different attitudes that taken in isolation you'd never connect them, they're all wearing white shirts though - giving it an art directed cinematic quality. A big street almost completely empty, post apocalyptic except history tells us it's an apocalyptic moment. The most astonishing thing is how long that one bloke stood there with the tanks bearing down on him as others (sensibly) fled the scene.
Apparently this image surfaced in 2009

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by BNA » Sun May 05, 2013 1:43 am

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Re: Fascinating Tiananmen Square photo (with bikes)

Postby landscapecadmonkey » Sun May 05, 2013 1:43 am

push bikes and white shirts, maybe suggestive of a preconceived Chinese conformity. with a subtle yet powerful contradiction of a pre 'tank-man', tank-man
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Re: Fascinating Tiananmen Square photo (with bikes)

Postby foo on patrol » Sun May 05, 2013 7:14 am

That site Retronaut has some very good pics of history on there Robert. 8)

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Re: Fascinating Tiananmen Square photo (with bikes)

Postby Marto » Sun May 05, 2013 8:44 am

On a related note, I am reading the book Stasiland, about East Germany before the wall fell. I read that one had to have a permit for (well, everything, I know) riding a bicycle because the mobility that afforded was perceived to be dangerous. On a bicycle, you could get around checkpoints and blocked off areas relatively discretely. Found some interesting photos here:

Coveted Possession: A Woman Defends her Bicycle (1945)

"In 1945, bicycles were a coveted means of transportation. Here, a Soviet soldier attempts to wrest a bicycle from a German woman in Berlin since a special …permission was required to use a bicycle. Photographer unknown."
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Permission to Ride a Bicycle (July 24, 1945)

"Germans were allowed to ride bicycles only in exceptional cases, with special permission. Here is a precious certificate entitling the holder to use a bicycle on the authority of the local police of Hohen Neuendorf bei Berlin, issued on July 24, 1945, in German and Russian."
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Re: Fascinating Tiananmen Square photo (with bikes)

Postby Sharkey » Sun May 05, 2013 11:32 am

I love those images that capture a moment in history.

I saw this one last week. While not bike related it is to do with sport. It is hard to believe this was America in the late sixties.

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In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon. After realizing that a woman was running, race organizer Jock Semple went after Switzer shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” However, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire marathon. The photographs taken of the incident made world headlines, and Kathrine later won the NYC marathon with a time of 3:07:29.
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Re: Fascinating Tiananmen Square photo (with bikes)

Postby gorilla monsoon » Wed May 08, 2013 5:17 pm

Sharkey wrote:I love those images that capture a moment in history.

I saw this one last week. While not bike related it is to do with sport. It is hard to believe this was America in the late sixties.



The same America which, in some states, made black people sit in the back of the bus and made them send their kids to black-only schools? The same America which, in some states, made gun ownership compulsory?

Situation normal, then.
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