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.
“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 got back in his seat screaming back onto the stage we thought it wasn’t part of the script. And then I started looking through the camera for responses actions”.
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 reaction state – you see something happen and you react,” he said. “Frame and focus, and then take the picture. The shooting in the theater, the exposure on the stage and the audience were very different, so there are a lot of technical settings to reconcile.”
Presenting the award for Best Documentary during Sunday night’s broadcast, Rock joked about Pinkett Smith’s clean-shaven head, saying, “Jada, I love you.” Ji Jin 2, can’t wait to see her.”
“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 took them.”
“Of course, this happened in the middle of the show, so there was a lot of work to do right after that,” he said. “In the cabin, I didn’t really know how impactful this moment or my photos would be.”
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