Evelyn McHale. Most beautiful suicide.
The photo was taken on May Day, 1947 at the bottom of the Empire State Building. Photography student, Richard Wiles, was across the street, and heard a loud crash. He rushed to the scene and took the photo four minutes after one Evelyn McHale jumped off from the Observation Deck. Like the movie said, the picture is sad, but it is simultaneously serene. It isn’t full of gore, and Evelyn looked as if she was sleeping. Her calm repose contrasted greatly from the grotesque wreckage of a bier she herself created beneath her.
I got the chance to see the Van Gogh exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art yesterday and it was absolutely wonderful. Somehow, out of all of his pieces, I have managed to be completely oblivious to this one, Undergrowth with Two Figures. Shame on me, I know. It is now one of my absolute favorites.