UKC

Modern Iconic Images

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The Phil Davidson thread contained a link to his solo of Right Wall:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Y_v28X6jb3M/UoIlP0eeARI/AAAAAAAAAUk/37mUtUpJclA/s1600/001+(2).jpg

The camera angle, the route, ropeless, and in a wild splits position - it's definitely iconic. There are a few other big images from the 70s, 80s and 90s, which were big at the time and still resonate (and definitely not just nostalgia).

This got me thinking, what are the modern iconic images which climbers gaze at to fire themselves up and provide that mental escape when stuck indoors/on the flatlands? Are there any really iconic MODERN shots?

There's one of Honnold that is a possible contender. Any others?

 https://www.instagram.com/p/BU5oSrWhFWW/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_mid=F7C01BA7-826F-4EA2-A884-09699FE3BFF0

Post edited at 13:19
In reply to Shani:

What constitutes 'modern'? 2000 or later?

Post edited at 14:00
In reply to Toerag:

> What constitutes 'modern'? 2000 or later?

That gives us 20 years.....is that modern? 😅

Yeah, let's go for 2000 onwards!

 fuzzysheep01 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

Surely this one is in with a shout? More iconic than the other Honnold one I'd have thought.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7a/df/65/7adf653cdfe8698e1e65349b8ad9510e.jpg

 nikoid 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Toerag:

> What constitutes 'modern'? 2000 or later?

While we're at it, what constitutes 'iconic'?

 Niek 17 Feb 2021
 PaulJepson 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Niek:

That's what first came to my mind as well. 

There's an old picture of Stevie Haston on Century Crack in an old mag (I think On The Edge?) but I can't find it online. 

https://sonnietrotter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Sonnie_Malta-2.jpg This is a good one too. 

In reply to fuzzysheep01:

> Surely this one is in with a shout? More iconic than the other Honnold one I'd have thought.

Is that a climbing photo (tongue partly in cheek)? 🤔

 Michael Gordon 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

I like this one. It shows nicely just how far Scottish winter climbing has come: 

http://www.scottishwinter.com/?p=6947

 fuzzysheep01 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

Haha I did ponder that actually!

In reply to Shani:

I think it only just creeps into the time bracket but I've always loved this for capturing the essence of British trad https://images.app.goo.gl/RbLgkMG9UG6BzvmP7

Or some classic Franco https://cdn.ukc2.com/i/224739.jpg

Post edited at 15:38
 DerwentDiluted 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

I always thought this one is a quite ordinary picture of a bloke climbing, apart from...that...leg thing going on.

https://images.app.goo.gl/wQ3Hr2wsGpgm9xN88

 Will Hunt 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

Ray Wood talked in the Jam Crack Podcast about how images are often little more than scroll-fodder these days. You glimpse them, you move on. You don't open a magazine and get floored by something in the way that photos of Fawcett on Supersonic, Bancroft on Strapadictomy, and the like might once have done.

Iconic ascents are often not accompanied by iconic photos but by iconic video these days. Doylo gives a good run down here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew2RCWKFCt4&

Ricky Bell falling down that slab, Ben Cossey on Groove Train (full video here: https://www.ukclimbing.com/videos/play.php?i=5066), Moon on Rainshadow, Ondra flashing Jade, Sharma on Biographie to name a few. 

In reply to Shani:

How about some female representation? After all, it has been in the modern era that women broke through into the same top league as the men. One of the pictures of Lynn Hill doing the Changing Corners pitch on the Nose of El Cap, or Hazel Findley leading the headwall of the Salathe, would be appropriate.

 Will Hunt 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

Not climbing, but still one of the best climbing photos I think I've ever seen. The shutter went at just the right moment.

https://images.app.goo.gl/rCFim5tFQrDhjMW89

In reply to John Stainforth:

This one is not totally groundbreaking but I still think it is great representation of what you are asking for. Emma Twyford on London Wall at Millstone, 2008, by “li’l Kath” 


In reply to Will Hunt:

> Ray Wood talked in the Jam Crack Podcast about how images are often little more than scroll-fodder these days. You glimpse them, you move on. You don't open a magazine and get floored by something in the way that photos of Fawcett on Supersonic, Bancroft on Strapadictomy, and the like might once have done.

> Iconic ascents are often not accompanied by iconic photos but by iconic video these days. Doylo gives a good run down here:

I was having similar thoughts, but then you see stills/photos of Honnold ropeless on El Cap and you get that surge of adrenaline and desire to hit the crags.

Thus, photographs/images still have unique power (in the same way books still have a place in 2020).

Post edited at 16:48
In reply to John Stainforth:

On that note the cobbler has given some pretty iconic shots over the last few years https://images.app.goo.gl/JaDWCkrafiQAkhfY8 (the Dave Mac version is just as good) and I absolutely loved the photo of Emma Twyford on the big issue that was on the front of Summit a while back https://images.app.goo.gl/GJXWSsB5GFJfyZnD7

 Michael Gordon 17 Feb 2021
In reply to John Stainforth:

> How about some female representation? 

For the totally 'out there' feeling, I'd definitely pick one of the ones from this article:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2012/04/silvia_vidal_one_month_solo_epic_new_route-67071

To the OP - great thread!

 joeramsay 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

There's a really mint picture somewhere of Jude Spancken on Lord of the Flies going for a totally wild-looking cross move. Can't seem to find it on the goog any more but I'm sure there's some people who know the pic I'm talking about - I think probably the first picture that I saw that got me really fired up to try hard above gear (not that I ever climbed anything comparable)

Post edited at 17:14
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Is that Spillett in the background?

 Myfyr Tomos 17 Feb 2021
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

Whose leg is that then?

In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

> Whose leg is that then?

And what direction is s/he climbing? 😆

 Maggot 17 Feb 2021
In reply to fuzzysheep01:

That's the one I had in mind.
The buttress opposite is amazing, looks like several billion tons of rock have come away at some point.

 Will Hunt 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

One that was discussed in the Ray Wood Jam Crack was this one of Gresham on End of the Affair.

https://d1vs4ggwgd7mlq.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Rock-climbing-training-coming-back-from-injury-e1505835431906-938x563.jpg

Ken Wilson called Ray up when he saw it and complimented him on "the best climbing photo ever" (not those words but something like that). Ray hadn't the heart to tell Ken that it was staged (hidden top rope around the corner).

 Marek 17 Feb 2021
In reply to nikoid:

> While we're at it, what constitutes 'iconic'?

Actually I think that's a really interesting question. 30 years ago it might have characterised by a climbing poster you put on a wall and 5 years later still made your heart race when you looked at it. Now? People will say "what's a poster?" As said elsewhere, we are now deluged with really good images (and videos)  and the contextual impact of a poster or a monthly magazine front cover is gone. So if you take away the 'delivery', what did (or does) 'iconic' mean?

I still have climbing pictures on my wall, but they are not iconic - they are picture by me that evoke the memories of where I've been and what I did. Iconic - for me at least - is almost the opposite: It has to be about the future rather than the past. It's about what I might aspire to, even though I well know that I'll never get to that level. It has to represent an unattainable symbol of what climbing is about that even my non-climbing wife can understand. In some ways it is like a religious icon: it's not real, it's not really achievable, but it represents something that's worth striving for even though you know that you'll never get there. It's what'll make me start going to the bouldering wall again once the lockdown's over and I'm vaccinated - even though I'm not that into bouldering for it's own sake. It's what'll make me nip out to Windgather on a damp, windy evening. And if I'm lucky, I'll rekindle some of that feeling I got when I saw the opening scene of "Solo", even though I'm just on some little windswept gritstone edge on the moors.

So what images have been 'iconic' for me recently? Well, the opening shots of "Solo" (obviously) and "Honnold-on-the-ledge". There's Ueli Steck running along some knife-edge Alpine ridge (Mittellegi?). Beyond that, I'm not sure.

In reply to nikoid:

> While we're at it, what constitutes 'iconic'?

Something famously and distinctively representative of its type?

I reckon this fits the bill for hard and run-out slab climbing, for which I have a weakness (but not this hard!) The initial grade might have been controversial, but what a climb and what a shot.

Post edited at 18:23

 C Witter 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

> Is that a climbing photo (tongue partly in cheek)? 🤔


It's far, far more iconic as an image. And, yes, of course it is.

 Graeme Hammond 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

the image that blew my mind (or a very similar one) from the free solo was 

https://cdn.i-scmp.com/sites/default/files/d8/images/methode/2019/04/02/3224d42e-5449-11e9-a3ae-f2742b367090_image_hires_232340.JPG

the Half dome ledge photo is pretty iconic too.

Post edited at 18:32
In reply to ebdon and Steve Clark:

>  I absolutely loved the photo of Emma Twyford on the big issue that was on the front of Summit a while back https://images.app.goo.gl/GJXWSsB5GFJfyZnD7

That image is possibly the only photograph I've seen that clearly shows a leader on a very hard route, actually reaching for gear - and therefore a very "good value" one for showing (perhaps) a non-climber (or, mischievously, an anti-trad climber!) what the additional difficulties are, with leading. It's great and I wasn't that familiar with it, so thanks for the reminder. 

Often the "iconic" photos tend to be "run out" and/or "mid-move", probably because part of a photographer or editor's instinct is that "placing gear is not an exciting image"

In reply to Graeme Hammond:

Alex looks like he is grabbing a cheeky 40 winks in that  

In reply to Graeme Hammond:

Yes, that's as good of Honnold doing his Free Solo as any, and definitely iconic for the modern era.

 C Witter 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Steve Clark:

The Twyford image is good. The rest are lacking as images. The Freerider pics you posted are crap as photos, even if the solo was amazing. The one they used as the Free Solo film banner was much more iconic: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmtVByQBQMZ/

This is an immensely photogenic bit of rock: https://cdn.ukc2.com/i/265841.jpg

This is a cracker, too: https://cdn.ukc2.com/i/332787.jpg

I know those two aren't of the lofty heights of achievement of some things, but they're great shots that linger in my mind.

P.s. I've always thought the photo of Naomi Buys on the cover of Lancashire Rock is a particularly inspiring/gripping guidebook cover: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/ArticleImageHandler.ashx?id=7798&index=0&w=605&h=434

Post edited at 18:51
 mark s 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

adams shot of sam on appoinment  with death at wimberry is possibly my fav

 Ian Patterson 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

No an actual climbing photo but this was my first thought for an iconic 'image'

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ_Hz2WldJb/?utm_source=ig_embed

Love this from the ascent but think it's possibly a still from the video.

https://www.rei.com/blog/climb/watch-margo-hayes-la-rambla-5-15a

In reply to Carless:

> Is that Spillett in the background?

I have no idea, sorry 

 Tom Walkington 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

Ryan Pasquill on Gerty Berwick,Ilkley.

John Dunne on Breach of the Peace,Malham.

Both pictures in the guidebooks.

In reply to Shani:

Not sure how iconic it is... but always found the one of Malc (on his woody) pretty inspirational
 

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.theprojectmagazine.com/features/2017/2/14/interview-malcolm-smith%3fformat=amp

In reply to Shani:

This is about as iconic as it comes......


 greg_may_ 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

One of the few posters I have on the wall. In the office, just in view for students during teaching calls

https://ibb.co/m0WgxmW

That image reminds me of how much I love our sport. The dog on the top makes me smile when a person notices it for the first time.

 Sean Kelly 18 Feb 2021
In reply to fuzzysheep01:

> Surely this one is in with a shout? More iconic than the other Honnold one I'd have thought.

Totally agree with that, besides it made the cover of his book!

In reply to Sean Kelly:

> Totally agree with that, besides it made the cover of his book!

But does it inspire you? More so than the Freerider images? I know which one gives me that stab of adrenaline. 

 nikoid 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Marek:

Some good thoughts. Thanks. I agree with your observation about climbing posters, Ron on L'horla certainly springs to my mind. (45 years ago!) But not an iconic image to me, just a great inspiring photo of its time of someone I wished I could emulate. 

Similarly whilst I understand what the OP is asking, I'm not sure climbing images can ever be iconic. I would say all of the images cited in the thread are exciting, appealing, inspirational and stir the soul. I just think something has to be more familiar and recognisable to be iconic. I would say the Mona Lisa is a possible example of something iconic,  but then again it might be better to just describe it as a famous painting. The word has become so ubiquitous  that I'm not sure it helps to call anything iconic, to me it's a bit like saying you are feeling emotional - what emotion are you talking about exactly?

In reply to Shani:

This one https://www.onsight.com.au/product/the-free-route-v1/ Or one of someone on the Very big and the Very small taken from above the climber's left. Not this one https://www.onsight.com.au/product/the-very-big-and-the-very-small/

In reply to nikoid:

> Similarly whilst I understand what the OP is asking, I'm not sure climbing images can ever be iconic. 

Surely the OP is asking about what's iconic IN THE CONTEXT OF climbing images. 

Similar to how Underworld's "dubnobasswithmyheadman" is an iconic early 1990s "dance music" album, but may not class as iconic in terms of ALL MUSIC EVER. 

In reply to nikoid:

This is pretty iconic. More levitating than climbing, admittedly...

Post edited at 12:15

 Lankyman 18 Feb 2021
In reply to nikoid:

>I'm not sure climbing images can ever be iconic. I would say all of the images cited in the thread are exciting, appealing, inspirational and stir the soul. I just think something has to be more familiar and recognisable to be iconic. I would say the Mona Lisa is a possible example of something iconic,  but then again it might be better to just describe it as a famous painting. The word has become so ubiquitous  that I'm not sure it helps to call anything iconic, to me it's a bit like saying you are feeling emotional - what emotion are you talking about exactly?

If there is one image from the climbing world that can claim to be iconic then surely this is it

https://www.onthisday.com/images/photos/tenzing-norgay-on-the-summit-of-mount-everest.jpg

To the non-climbing world (ie 99.99%) this is what it's all about.

 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

It is outside the 20-year timeframe - but I always thought the shot of Separate Reality in Yosemite Climber was super-inspirational - an impossible-looking roof-crack with the leader giving 110%.

https://www.climbing.com/news/photo-gallery-yosemites-wild-golden-days/

First shot in the article - some of the others are pretty cool too,

Chris

 Marek 18 Feb 2021
In reply to nikoid:

> Similarly whilst I understand what the OP is asking, I'm not sure climbing images can ever be iconic....

I took the view that since the OP asked the 'iconic' question, I'd go with the assumption that iconic did actually mean something distinct from 'a good climbing picture' and explore that. So yes, I ended up defining 'iconic' in my own way (which might not be anyone else's), but I think it was defensible,  distinct and different from just 'exceptionally good'.

Oh, and as another contender, I seem to recall a picture back in the 80s of the tyrolean off the top of the Lost Arrow Spire that would have fit the bill. Common enough now, but 30 years ago it blew me away!

In reply to Marek:

> I took the view that since the OP asked the 'iconic' question, I'd go with the assumption that iconic did actually mean something distinct from 'a good climbing picture' and explore that. So yes, I ended up defining 'iconic' in my own way (which might not be anyone else's), but I think it was defensible,  distinct and different from just 'exceptionally good'.

For me 'iconic' images are those where a route name or climbers name will immediately evoke a particular image - most likely a poster, advert, or guidebook cover. Crucially 'not much info' should lead many people to immediately think of that one shot...

If someone says 'The Dangler' i immediately think of Joe Brown hanging by one hand, ciggie in between his lips...

In reply to Chris Craggs:

> It is outside the 20-year timeframe - but I always thought the shot of Separate Reality in Yosemite Climber was super-inspirational - an impossible-looking roof-crack with the leader giving 110%.

> First shot in the article - some of the others are pretty cool too,

> Chris

Separate Reality is another good example. As soon as i hear those two words it is Gullich on the lip that comes to mind.

Post edited at 18:27

 McHeath 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

I suppose that to answer this, you've first got to agree on what "iconic" means, and for whom. Checking the dictionaries is interesting; some concentrate on the element of awe- and devotion-inspiring; others on the ability to represent something enormous which is more than the sum of the parts of the individual person/object. Globally, we're talking Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammed Ali, James Dean or Elvis. With photos, maybe the Spanish Civil War soldier caught in the instance of death; the naked child running from the napalmed Vietnamese village; the East German soldier jumping the barbed wire coils on his flight to the West, or Armstrong's first steps on the moon.

It's obvious that there are no climbing personalities or photos packing this kind of punch for the non-climbing population of the planet, so we're talking about iconic for climbers. Not only that; every nation will have its own icons. Phil Davidson on Right Wall: yes, for UK climbers of a certain age, but for the French, the Czechs, the Russians, of all ages? The climbers of every nation, age and style have their own icons. The only possibly truly internationally iconic (for climbers) photo that I can think of is Heinz Zak's photo of Wolfgang Güllich solo on the lip of Seperate Reality (shown above). But again: only for a certain generation.

So: assuming we're talking about iconic for British climbers, there's no photo since 2000 which for me instantly springs to mind, except for the one of that mind-blowingly horrific queue on the summit ridge of Everest, as a symbol of where mainstream Himalayan climbing has arrived at. Maybe 20 years is too short a time span to decide upon what's truly (for us climbers) iconic. Or maybe the fact that we can (if we have the time) peruse hundreds of good climbing photos online every day instead of just a couple of dozen or so each month or two in the mags has led to overkill. I suppose the passage of time will sort out the truly iconic photos; it's still too early to judge. 

PS the only vintage "iconic photo" I'm missing in the previously mentioned ones is Leo Dickinson's shot of Drummond on the first ascent of A Dream of White Horses (HVS 4c).

Edit: various typos 

PPS: I think my profile photo has potential  

Post edited at 21:03
In reply to McHeath:

Bancroft on Strapadictomy

In reply to Shani:

The image of the late Ueli Steck moving rapidly up an alpine steep snow slope where I think he is moving arms and legs in diagonal pairs and the shot has timed this perfectly. The confidence to move like this, unroped, in that setting makes it an iconic image for me. 

In reply to Shani:

With the possible exception of the Honnold ones I don't think there are probably any modern (post 2000) iconic climbing photographs. Iconic photographs will have stood the test of time to come to be accepted to represent a climb, a climber or an era. But there may be photos that will become iconic with the passing of time; perhaps a better question would be to ask which photos might possibly in future be seen as iconic. I think the bar has to be set pretty high considering how few 20th century photos could be considered truly iconic.

 Will Hunt 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

I reckon that Margo Hayes one will stick. I can't think of an image that so well captures the emotional surge that comes at the realisation of a long term project. And to get that with the first female 9a+. Rare stuff.

Some of the photos mentioned up thread are among my favourite photos, even if they don't fit the bill. Bancroft on Strapadictomy in particular. Not sure if it's been mentioned but Dave Pegg on MaDMAn fits the bill too (can't find a hi-res version online unfortunately).

Then there's this photo of Whillance and Armstrong on the first ascent of Incantations. I LOVE it!

http://i.imgur.com/xuxOfVm.jpg

 john arran 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

Not sure whether it's been mentioned yet, and admittedly grit-centric, but surely Bernard Newman's shot of Steve Bancroft on Strapadictomy must be in with a shout?

Edit: this one - https://images.app.goo.gl/drucxT23TXK4vDSZ7

Post edited at 15:38
 Will Hunt 19 Feb 2021
In reply to john arran:

I think it's escaped notice till now because of the brief to cite shots from 2000 onwards. Shall we just sack that off and get on with general iconic images? I vote yes!

In reply to Will Hunt:

> I think it's escaped notice till now because of the brief to cite shots from 2000 onwards. Shall we just sack that off and get on with general iconic images? I vote yes!

I think you're right. It looks like the age of the iconic shot is all but over!

i think the way to establish iconic shots from any period would be to post the name of a climb or climber, and see which image everyone directs you to. "Strapadictomy" would definitely lead most of us to that Bancroft image.

Post edited at 16:48
 richgac 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

Ray Woods photo of Leo Houlding on Trauma from 1999(?)

can be found in this article https://dmmclimbing.com/Journal/September-2018/Trauma-E8-9-7a

Captures the essence of hard UK trad , I’d say it’s iconic

 Michael Gordon 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Somerset swede basher:

> The image of the late Ueli Steck moving rapidly up an alpine steep snow slope where I think he is moving arms and legs in diagonal pairs and the shot has timed this perfectly. The confidence to move like this, unroped, in that setting makes it an iconic image for me. 

Surely this is another example of a classic piece of film, where you can really see the 'Swiss Machine' in action? A photo doesn't show speed very effectively...

In reply to Michael Gordon:

That too, I just really like the photo. 

 GravitySucks 19 Feb 2021
 Will Hunt 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

> The Phil Davidson thread contained a link to his solo of Right Wall:

.... to one of his soloes of Right Wall, I think!

jcm. 

 Myfyr Tomos 20 Feb 2021
 Michael Gordon 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

There's a top one of Dave MacLeod on it as well I think - Great Mountain Crags book?

 tehmarks 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Talking of the Swiss Machine, I think that Jon Griffith's photo of him on the Supercouloir has all the hallmarks of an iconic image. You can feel the mind-bending exposure from your sofa. Similarly his photo of Late To Say I'm Sorry.

https://alpineexposures.com/euro/supercouloir

https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/laiguille_verte-2325/late_to_say_im_sorry-152669#photos&gid=1&pid=1

Assuming of course that we're not just talking about rock.

In reply to john arran:

Strapadictomy had already been mentioned a couple of times but nobody had put a link on - thanks

 tehmarks 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

I would have thought Dave McLeod on Rhapsody would have had a mention before now.  
Perhaps this one as it sums up the modern reality of hard climbing- repeated attempts captured “on film”.

https://www.hotaches.com/blog/2016/4/7/10-years-of-rhapsody

 Michael Gordon 21 Feb 2021
In reply to SFM:

I think it's yet another example of a classic piece of film, not photography. If there was a classic shot it would surely be the one of Cubby on Requiem in '83?

 profitofdoom 21 Feb 2021
In reply to nikoid:

> What constitutes 'modern'? 2000 or later?

> While we're at it, what constitutes 'iconic'?

And while we're at it, what constitutes 'constitutes'?

 Sean Kelly 21 Feb 2021
 wbo2 21 Feb 2021
In reply to Shani:

> Separate Reality is another good example. As soon as i hear those two words it is Gullich on the lip that comes to mind.

I always think of the picture from the book Yosemite Climber.  I am very annoyed I lost my copy moving house


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