I remember on a post on Michael David Murphy's 2point8, Nils Jorgensen commented on the fact that the background almost looks like a poster, and Michael said that's because it was a poster. Not sure if MDM was joking or not, especially as I've never seen this at a reasonable size, but...
Here's the link to that post:http://2point8.whileseated.org/2007/04/27/peopled-landscapes/The way I read it, MDM says it is a poster followed by a winking head which means he was in fact joking.I have looked hard at the image in my copy of AP and it looks awfully real. The shadows of the man and the crowd match perfectly. Also, it's hard to imagine what sort of poster would be cropped that way and have that type of resolution back in 1979. Sternfeld's caption seems to imply it's real and I can't find any info to counter that online. For all those reasons, although I can't say definitively that the photo is a real scene, my hunch is that it is.
I'm sure you're right and it is all a "real" scene. The only thing that made me wonder about whether MDM was joking was that the surface the man's standing on looks a bit odd for a roof or observation platform.
Actually, now that you mention it, it does very much look like a roof membrane, and very much not like a pavement or flooring surface. (I won't bore you with the details why.) I vote real. Although I always thought the perspective was a little ambiguous, I never saw it as a poster -- very perceptive!As for "peopled landscapes" one that jumps to mind is of the people under the Chicago el by Ken Josephson. Love that one.
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