Tuesday, January 3, 2012

JEFF WIDENER: Tiananmen Square Tank Man


A lone man stops a column of tanks near Tiananmen Square, 1989 Beijing, China


Monroe Gallery of Photography is pleased to be representing photojournalist Jeff Widener.

 
Jeff Widener (born August 11, 1956 in Long Beach, California) is an American photographer, best known for his image of the "Tank Man" confronting a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 Beijing riots which made him a nominated finalist for the 1990 Pulitzer. Prior to the picture, Widener was injured during the night event of June 3rd, 1989 after a stray rock hit him in the head during a mob scene on the Chang-An Boulevard. His Nikon F3 titanium camera absorbed the blow, sparing his life. The "Tank Picture," repeatedly circulated around the globe, (except in China where it is banned) and is now widely held to be one of the most recognized photos ever taken. America On Line selected it as one of the top ten most famous images of all time.

Jeff grew up in Southern California where he attended Los Angeles Pierce College and Moorpark College majoring in photojournalism. In 1974 he received the Kodak Scholastic National Photography Scholarship beating out 8,000 students from across the United States. The prize included a study tour of East Africa.

 In 1978, Widener started as a newspaper photographer in California and later in Nevada and Indiana. At age 25, he accepted a position in Brussels, Belgium as a staff photographer with United Press International. His first foreign assignment was the Solidarity riots in Poland.

Through the years, he has covered assignments in over 100 countries involving civil unrest and wars to social issues. He was the first photojournalist to file digital images from the South Pole. In 1987, he was hired as Associated Press Picture Editor for Southeast Asia where he covered major stories in the region from the Gulf War to the Olympics. Other beats included East Timor, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Burma, Syria, Jordan, India, Laos, Vietnam, Pakistan and many more.

Widener is now based in Hamburg, Germany. The iconic Tiananmen Square photograph will be on exhibit in Booth B-500 during Photo LA, January 13 - 16, 2012.

More
Read: Eyewitness at Tiananmen Square, 1989
Interview with Jeff Widener, "Tank Man" Photographer