What a visual world

Right above my desk there’s a photo of a hockey player flying through the air after he’s just scored the Stanley Cup winning goal. The player is Bobby Orr, of course, a Canadian and Boston Bruins’ hockey legend, and the photo itself, is a part of the hockey lore as well.

B.Orr-ing.

Books have been written about the goal, and books have been written about the shot which captures Orr perfectly parallel with the ice, yet, celebrating the win even before landing on the ice. The disappointed St. Louis Blues defenceman who’s just tripped him is in the middle of the shot, the cheering Boston fans rising to their feet in the stands in the background.

This black-and-white photo is the most famous hockey shot, ever.

The photographer, Ray Lussier, got his spot behind the plexiglass because another photographer left to get himself a beer. And the rest is history.

These days, Lussier would face fierce competition, and not for the seat. Every single sports event is covered by dozens of photographers, and hundreds more in the stands. We all take photos all the time. In fact, I have about 10 000 photos on my hard drive right now. The LIFE magazine’s online archive that Google is hosting (see site tips), has ten million.

It sounds like a lot, ten million, but in the digital age, that’s nothing. Do a Google image search with, say, “apricot”, and you get 1 500 000 images back. All kinds of apricots: fresh, seeds, singles, piles, trees, and marmelade. If you need to find photos and other images about something specific – like my son who loves dinosaurs – there’s never been a more visual time than this.

Of course, Google also returns Little Miss Apricot at the Patterson Apricot Fiesta, apricot-colored bags, and Apricot Lane Fashion & Gift Boutique which may or may not interest you.

But, if you search for “Bobby Orr”, the first result page returns no less than six versions of the Ray Lussier classic.

The cream will rise to the top, even on the Internet.

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