The couple who fell into an amorous embrace duing the post-Stanley Cup chaos in Vancouver last night may not even know they are quickly becoming the most sought-after pair on the Internet. Photographer Richard Lam, who snapped the now-famous shot of them lying on the pavement, kissing, with rioters and cops battling in the background (a scene Esquire dubbed "Love in the Time of Rioting"), told NPR today that he didn't realize what was happening when he hit the shutter. "I'm not sure what exactly was going on," he told Picture Show blogger Claire O'Neill. "I just saw these two people and I thought they were hurt ... I didn't really know what I got until the editor pointed it out." Lam himself is now a hot commodity, doing an interview with MSNBC in addition to his NPR appearance, and presumably fielding many more such requests. Meanwhile, the requests such as this one from the CBC are going out on Twitter to try to find the couple.
But some say the photo was staged. Not only does it seem, at the surface, too good to be true, Twitter user @balsac (who also goes by Steve) posted another photo that appears to show a small group clustered around the couple, one with a camera, suggesting they were posing.
Amid the romantic hype surrounding what some are calling the next "VJ-Day in Times Square" photo, there's an element of doubt, not just about the validity of the supposedly candid shot, but about the motives of the kisser. Without the context of romance, the above photo could be seen as a group of guys taking advantage of an incapacitated woman. The Post Game editor Eric Adelson suggested the same of the original photo when he tweeted, "I'm sorry, but that 'kiss' photo from Vancouver looks like it could be something sinister. How do we know that girl is alert and willing?" We're hoping it was what it seems: A spontaneous display of affection during an emotional evening. But until somebody finds the couple, we can't know for sure.
Update (4:30 p.m. EDT): A post from user Kmaz on an NHL fan board has what purports to be an eyewitness account, possibly from the person who took the above photo:
I was actually on a parkade above these two snapping photos. I didn't see exactly what happened to the couple, however, shortly before this there was a police charge to disperse the crowd. The VPD had contained the street they were on but left them be. Where this photo got shot from was inside/beside/generally around the mob. Directly down the street from the camera was a police consolidation point and another, larger mob, was down the next street on the left.
And fyi, the girl appeared to hurt her ankle and that is why the photo was able to come into existence.