Tag Archives: Diamond Jubilee

TIME Picks the Most Surprising Photos of 2012

Clint Eastwood’s appearance and speech to an empty chair at the GOP convention stupefied us, Felix Baumgartner’s jump from 24 miles above the Earth astounded us and Gabby Douglas’ Olympic performance thrilled us. But now that it’s on the wane, we can step back and report that, all in all, 2012 held relatively few major surprises. Perhaps one reason for the year’s ho-hum factor is that several long-anticipated events the Mars Curiosity rover landing; the London Olympics; the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee; the U.S. elections set a tone of predictability for a year that, in large part, failed to ignite.

Granted, there were some genuine scandals, which always raise eyebrows (if not the level of national discourse): the Petraeus affair, Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace and pictures of a naked royal prince gallivanting with friends in Vegas, of all places.

In front of the ubiquitous TV cameras, Angelina Jolie courted publicity at the Oscars, while Rihanna and Chris Brown shamelessly courted controversy everywhere. That it was all so baldly contrived hardly stopped the media from buying right into it.

A calculated, cautious and utterly uninspiring American presidential campaign contrasted with the hope and optimism of four years ago.The promise of the Arab Spring gave way to protests against the new government in Egypt, a deadly attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi and a bloody civil war in Syria that shows no signs of a resolution.

The surprises, when they did come, were brutal shocks rather than thrilling or uplifting wonders. The shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colo., left us three parts numb and one part seething with a kind of violent despair.

We marked solemn anniversaries, like the 100th year since the sinking of the Titanic and the 50th since the death of Marilyn. linkwheel . proveedor factura electrnica . Mick, Keith and the rest of the Stones kept rolling to mark their own 50th anniversary, but they did so with an utterly foreseeable bombast.

It was left to a Korean YouTube sensation riding an invisible horse to truly surprise and entertain us this year. But even then the novelty and fun rapidly wore thin, as Psy tributes from the likes of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Eaton school boys and countless others lay siege to the Internet.

And yet … in the face of what can really only be called a rather disappointing year, TIME presents a gallery of images from the past twelve months that did, despite everything, manage to surprise us: pictures that, we hope and trust, will in some small way redress the flaws of a year that, despite spectacles as wondrous as a man falling to earth from space and a Hollywood icon chatting with a chair, ultimately fell a little flat.

Pictures of the Week: June 1 – June 8

From the final journey of the space shuttle Enterprise in New York and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London to a landmark trial in Egypt and the once-in-a-lifetime Transit of Venus, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

Pictures of the Week: May 25–June 1

From Memorial Day observances in the U.S. and an exchange of bodies in the West Bank to the massacre in Syria and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in England, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

Pictures of the Week: May 11 – May 18

From violence in Colombia and a huge fire in Manila to soccer championships across Europe and the presidential handover ceremony in France, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

Picturing Ma’am. From stamps to portraiture: the images of a Royal subject

After a short-lived period of panic and confusion earlier this year, it was announced that – whatever fate befalls Britain’s troubled postal service – the Queen’s head will remain on postage stamps, writes John Ridpath. Whatever one might feel about constitutional monarchy and Post Office privatisation, the ruling concerns a deeply significant artefact of visual history: having appeared on billions of postage stamps since the late 1960s, John Hedgecoe’s 1967 profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth is one of the most reproduced images in the world (below).

Top: ‘Queen Elizabeth II’, Dorothy Wilding (1952). Hand-coloured by Beatrice Johnson.


This isn’t the first time that it’s nearly been off with the Queen’s head. When Winston Churchill died, David Gentleman was charged with designing a commemorative stamp (see our ‘Reputations’ interview with Gentleman in Eye 78). His original version (below, left) omitted Elizabeth II entirely. However the Stamp Advisory Committee insisted on retaining her portrait (not yet Hedgecoe’s version), and adding a white line to symbolise the separation between royal and commoner (below, right).



Over the years, Her Majesty has been subject to all kinds of portraiture, from Justin Mortimer’s disembodied head on a yellow background (1998, above) to Chris Levine’s remarkable photograph of the Queen with her eyes closed, ‘Lightness of Being’ (2007, below; see ‘I’ve seen that face before’ for Levine’s Grace Jones exhibition). To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, The National Portrait Gallery is organising ‘The Queen: Art and Image’, a touring exhibition to celebrate the most remarkable and resonant images of her 60-year reign. Alongside official portraits of the Queen, the exhibition brings together unofficial portraits by artists such as Gilbert and George, Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter – far rarer sights than Hedgecoe’s ubiquitous Royal image.



Above: ‘Queen Elizabeth II’, Pietro Annigoni (1969).

Below: ‘Queen Elizabeth II’, Eve Arnold (1968).



Above: ‘Queen Elizabeth II’, Dorothy Wilding (1952).

The Queen: Art and Image
25 June > 18 September 2011
National Gallery Complex,
14 October 2011 > 15 January 2012
Ulster Museum, Belfast
4 February > 29 April 2012
National Museum, Cardiff
17 May > 21 October 2012
National Portrait Gallery, London

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