This is easily my favorite photo of 2011. The morning newspaper had a section on the top photos of 2011, and although there were plenty of memorable and tragic moments captured throughout the world, this one of Scott Jones and Alexandra Thomas was one of the viral photos of the year. The context is that the two were caught up in the riots after the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup and Jones was comforting his girlfriend.
I like this photo for its composition, juxtaposing the uniformed, riot-geared police with a casually dressed, young couple kissing. this love and war contrast reminds me of other events of 2011, most notably the Occupy photo of the civil disobedient UC Davis students getting pepper-sprayed by the over-zealous Officer Pike. A photo of John Boehner weeping before receiving the gavel from Nancy Pelosi was not so much about physical violence, but more political warfare. Photos of the Joplin, MO tornado tragedy seem to have a similar message of love amidst destruction – but also hope. The events of 2011 will have effects for years to come. whether it’s rebuilding a Missouri town, coping with the nuclear fallout of the Daiichi Fukushima power plant in Japan, or rebuilding a nation after the end of tyrannical rule – 2011 was a rough year for the world. What makes this photo of the Vancouver couple so powerful is the message of hope. even with the rioting occurring around them, they were still able to share this moment apart from their surroundings. Maybe the take-home message is to find that silver lining through the storms that lie ahead.