The Rio Olympics have come to a close, and there’s no doubt that these summer games have been memorable. World records were smashed, heroes were made and the best sports photographers in the game captured it all. But what may go down as one of the most memorable images from the games is actually two photos, captured by two photographers a fraction of a second apart.
|Photo by Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuter’s.|
Cameron Spencer of Getty Images and Kai Pfaffenbach of Reuter’s snapped nearly identical photos of Bolt and his grin as he neared the finish line of the 100m race. It’s not easy to spot the difference until you notice that Bolt’s right hand is sharp in one image and blurred in the other.
Naturally, the nuance was entirely lost on the internet, particularly on Twitter where the photos quickly became the subject of countless memes. As is the way with memes, both photos went viral without credit to either of the photographers who took them. The dual photos even confused a well-meaning Sports Illustrated writer who gave credit to Spencer while tweeting the photo taken by Pfaffenbach. After the error was brought to his attention he issued an apology.
Most news coverage used (and credited) Spencer’s photo. Articles that document the popularity of the meme mostly reference the Getty photo as well, even though Pfaffenbach’s photo appears to have been used more widely.
Did you notice the different photos in circulation? Why do you think one photographer got more attention and credit for his photo? Let us know in the comments.