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Matinee: 'The Story Behind the Image with John Moore' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

8 August 2020

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 356th in our series of Saturday matinees today: The Story Behind the Image with John Moore.

In this four-minute clip from the Lucie Foundation, Getty staff photographer John Moore talks about photographing The Boy in the Cage, his portrait of a Honduran boy in a Texas detention facility in 2014. He also briefly mentions his award-winning image of a two-year-old Honduran girl crying as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border four years later.

Moore, who had been covering events at the U.S.-Mexico border for over 10 years, was the inaugural Lucie Honoree for its Impact Award in 2018. His images from the border were published in Undocumented that same year.

In 2014 he was on a ride-along with the border patrol, expecting to photograph what the border patrol is doing there. But a new agent gave him a rare opportunity, asking Moore what he wanted to shoot. The family detention facility, Moore answered in a heart beat.

At the facility, he was moved when he saw a solitary boy in a detention facility cage looking up at a TV set mounted high on the chain link wall. Moore knew he couldn't take a photo of the boy's face, which would have revealed his identity, so he positioned himself at an angle behind him.

The new agent immediately got in trouble with his supervisor for taking Moore to the facility. But Moore promised the supervisor he would not to publish the photo immediately. And a while later, when emotions had cooled down, the supervisor had a change of heart.

Moore had intended to publish anyway but his diplomacy resolved the situation and preserved his access to the area and the continuing story.

That, he said, made it possible for him to subsequently make his photo of Crying Girl on the Border, which won World Press Photo of the Year in 2019.

Moore took the image of the boy with a Canon EOS 1DX and a 24-70mm f2.8 zoom lens. He shot the video on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a 35mm f2.0 lens.

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