Did you see the front page of yesterday’s Globe and Mail of Toronto in the wake of the lone gunman attack on the Canadian Houses of Parliament?
It was stunning.
The Globe and Mail‘s design director, Devin Slater, tells us:
We were after an image that spoke to the assault on our democracy, our freedom and our leadership.
Ultimately, however, yesterday was an assault on our country’s spirit. It was a tall order for a front page photo.
As powerful as the pictures were from the events in Ottawa yesterday, the goal was to take the design further, toward a deeper level of meaning. What does this day mean for Canada’s security? Our government and leadership? Our soldiers? The memory of our fallen?
Of course, many readers will interpret and react to the photo differently. For me, what makes Fred Lum‘s photo powerful is the glint of the Canadian flag. After a very tough day, it shows a glimmer of hope, resolve, and intense patriotism. That’s Canada.
Click on that page for a much larger look.
A few hours later, Fred himself shared with us the story of how the picture came to happen.
All my photos have been filed today so I can finally sit down to talk about our paper’s front page…
Got here late in the afternoon and Roger Hallett, one of our photo editors, had relayed information that the paper was looking for an iconic and moody image from Ottawa. All the breaking news photos had come and gone by the time I arrived so there was no point in playing catch up.
Ideally, we were hoping to line up the War Memorial with Parliament Hill (the Peace Tower would have been great) as one concept but walking around it became obvious that this was not going to happen. Any good vantage points were locked down with absolutely no access whatsoever.
In case you know Ottawa, I started down by the east side of the canal north of Albert St. and it was here that aside from not being able to get the memorial and Parliament Hill in one frame, the setting sun had backlit the Canadian flag of East Block (which was already silhouetted along with the Peace Tower) and this was what I put my efforts into photographing. I worked this location a bit before deciding to try another vantage point on the Albert St. overpass — which, I believe, was the spot the front page photo was taken from.
I’d made a number of exposures with the flag unfurled so I headed back to file and make deadline and to give Devin and [art director] Jason [Chiu] time to work with the photograph as they designed the front page of Thursday’s paper.
Here’s the full-frame image Fred shot. Click for a larger view.
Being given direction but the freedom to interpret my task however I felt I should, allowed me to “see” this photograph and give the editors back in Toronto, what they needed to work with. That our paper took a different path visioning the day’s events is something that makes the Globe stand out.
Nuts and bolts: I underexposed the photograph a bit (normal practice for how I work) to bring out the clouds and darken the buildings on Parliament Hill, but I also brightened the flag slightly in post processing. But basically, what was printed was very close to what I saw and photographed.
Fred has worked at the Globe and Mail for more than 30 years. A couple of years ago, he gave readers tips on how to make great pictures in their own backyards. Find that here.
The Globe and Mail was all over this story Wednesday.
Political reporter Josh Wingrove was inside Centre Block on Parliament Hill then the place was locked down. He caught video of part of the attack via his cell phone.
My good pal Tonia Cowan and her crew put together this map that showed how the attack unfolded. Click for a readable version.
And reporter Jane Taber put together a detailed tick-tock of Wednesday’s events.
Twitter feeds for some of the folks mentioned here:
- Photographer Fred Lum
- Photo editor Roger Hallett
- Reporter Josh Wingrove
- Reporter Jane Taber
- Graphics editor Tonia Cowan
Find the Globe and Mail‘s coverage of the Ottawa attack here.