I had an email exchange with Peter Turnley after our article on Monday about the Leica Gallery opening in L.A., and he sent me these four pictures from Tiananmen Square 25 years ago, with a link to a National Geographic Daily News article titled "Tiananmen Square Still Haunts Photographer Brothers After 25 Years."
Peter had been in Beijing covering Mikhail Gorbachev's visit to China. As the protest began to swell, he called David in Paris and told him he thought something was happening and he'd better come. The twin brothers covered it together, along with other photographers and videographers who worked through great difficulty and with great courage.
The first and fourth pictures above are Peter's; the second and third are David's.
In 2007 I wrote an essay about one of the famous "tank man" pictures from Tiananmen Square. I wrote about Stuart Franklin's picture, and received an illuminating comment from Charlie Cole, who also took a picture of that scene. The other still photographers of "tank man" were Jeff Widener and Arthur Chang.
Peter adds: "The anniversary is today and tomorrow, June 3rd and 4th.
"It was a life-changing few months—at first so exhilarating to witness the mass youthful expression of a desire for a better life with more freedom and democracy, and then heartbreaking to see this spirit and movement crushed and literally killed by military hardware.
"The Chinese government has tried, ever since the days of June 3–4, 1989, to suppress any discussion of these events. In fact, it has tried to delete all memory of the Tiananmen Square uprising. My brother and I published a book in 1989, Beijing Spring, chronicling the whole period of the Tiananmen Square movement, as well as the crackdown and its aftermath.
"One role of photography and visual storytelling can be to offer an irrefutable witness to history, so that the voices of people who sometimes don't have a loud voice can be heard powerfully forever."
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