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Iconic ‘Lunch Atop a Skyscraper’ Photo Revealed to Be Publicity Shot

Today marks the 80th birthday of Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, the iconic black-and-white photo that shows 11 workers eating on a crossbeam during the construction of Manhattan’s RCA Building (now the GE Building) at Rockefeller Center. But if you’re planning on celebrating the famous shot, taken by an unknown photographer, you should probably know the story behind it. The Independent reports that it was actually part of perhaps the most successful photo-op publicity stunt of all time. “The image was a publicity effort by the Rockefeller Center,” Ken Johnston, chief historian and archivist for Corbis, tells the paper. “It seems pretty clear they were real workers, but the event was organised with a number of photographers.” Readers, are you shocked? Does this ruin the picture for you? Or is the image of workers towering over New York City impressive enough to transcend its calculated origins? [via The Awl]

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