photo by Charles C. Ebbets
Corbis, the owners of the only surviving negative of the ‘Lunch Atop a Skyscraper’ picture celebrating its 80th anniversary check whether they have the original.
Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, one of the most recognisable photographs of the 20th century, celebrates its 80th anniversary today.
The image depicts 11 construction workers casually enjoying lunch while perched on a girder 69 floors above the streets of Manhattan.
The world-famous black-and-white photograph was taken during the construction of the RCA Building (later renamed the GE Building in 1986), which forms part of the Rockefeller Centre. Captured by photographer Charles C. Ebbets, the image first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on October 2, 1932 and has grown in popularity ever since.
The picture agency Corbis stores the glass negative in a special underground bunker called Iron Mountain in Pennsylvania, 300 miles west of New York.
Despite its fragile state (it was shattered into even smaller pieces in 1996) , Corbis’ director of historical photography, Ken Johnston, checks whether the agency holds the original negative or a copy.
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