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Will Smith hits Chris Rock at the Oscars on Sunday It will be one of the most shocking moments in the history of the Oscars. And Brian Snyder was there to document it.
The Reuters photographer was one of the photographers who captured the moment on Sunday and his photo – which captured Smith slapping Rock at the moment of contact – will go viral everywhere soon, and it went viral.
So, what was it like when documenting the so-called “slap audible around the world”?
“Immediately after that my reaction was ‘Did it just happen?'” Snyder told CNN Business on Monday. “At first, the other photographers and I were unsure if it was a planned part of the show or something else. Once Will Smith returns to his seat and screams back on stage, we find out he wasn’t part of the script. Then I started looking through the camera for reactions.”
Snyder was among a group of photographers from various news outlets who were covering the show from the viewing booth in the back of the Dolby Theatre. He said he had two long lenses (200-400 mm and 600 mm) and his responsibility to Reuters was to cover the show – on stage and in the audience.
“It’s a reactionary state – you see something happen and you react,” he said. Select the frame and focus, then take the photo. Filming in the theater, the presentation of the stage and the audience were very different, so there are a lot of artistic settings to reconcile.”
Presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature during Sunday night’s broadcast, Rock joked about shaving Pinkett Smith’s head, saying, “Jada, I love you.” GI Jane 2 “I can’t wait to see her.”
Pinkett Smith – Who Was Opening up about her struggle with hair loss, an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss – rolled her eyes as she sat next to Smith after the joke. But Smith walked up to Rock on stage, hit him in the face and then shouted twice, “Keep my wife’s name out of your damn mouth!”
Smith issued an apology To Rock and the Academy Monday night after the fight.
As for Snyder’s photo, it was featured in news stories and social media and it was Until I turned into a meme.
“Nothing in my experience at the Academy Awards can compare to this,” said Snyder, who has covered the Academy Awards before, but not the show itself.
The craziest part is that Snyder himself hasn’t seen his image – or its cultural influence – even after show is over.
Snyder explained that his cameras are networked, so “all of my photos were immediately sent to the editors at the same time I shot them.”
“Of course, this happened in the middle of the show, so there was a lot of work to be done right after that,” he said. “In the booth, I didn’t really know how influential this moment or my photos would be.”
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