Sam Shere is a famous photojournalist who was on the scene of the Hindenburg Disaster. He took the most famous
picture of the disaster. He was born in 1905 and he lived until 1982. Shere worked for International News Photo and covered various events during his time working there, such as events in WW2.
The Hindenburg Disaster[edit | edit source]
Sam Shere was one of the hundreds of reporters who were covering the Hindenburg's 11th landing in the United States at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Sam was positioned close to the hanger, close to the mooring mast the Hindenburg would have been docked to.
Sam was equipped with a Speed Graphic camera. However, he was running low on photographs. Despite this, he took a picture of the Hindenburg's arrival to Lakehurst. He watched as the ground crew assisted the ship, as it began its landing procedures. However, Sam saw the ship leaning over about 2 degrees on the stern, along with many other witnesses on the ground. Hydrogen was most likely leaking out of the back of the airship. This would spell catastrophe, as hydrogen was highly flammable.
Suddenly at 7:25, the Hindenburg's suddenly caught fire. As one of the ship's hydrogen bags exploded, a horrified Sam reached for his camera. As the ship began to fall, Sam quickly took a picture of the Hindenburg burning, with the last remaining photo his camera's film had. Sam watched the whole disaster unfold in front of his eyes. He witnessed the recovery efforts, seeing maimed and burned survivors being carried to saftey. Sam had no idea how to photo turned out, as he was in such a hurry to take the photo, he shot it from his waist level. He was amazed to see how clear the photo turned out.
The next day, he turned his photo into to his employers at the International News Photo group. The iconic image was published in various newspapers all over the world, including on the front page of the New York Times.
Legacy[edit | edit source]
Even though Sam took only one photo of the Hindenburg disaster, this remained the most famous photo of the disaster. It managed to frame to the whole catastrophe perfectly. You can see the airship ship beginning to fall, the crowd looking in horror, the landing crew and many terrified reporters scattering for cover on the field, the mooring mast where the ship would have been docked, the radio station where Hebert Morrison was, the Hindenburg's logo barely visible in the shadow of the fire, and even other news crews filming newsreel footages of the disaster. This photo has been recreated and reenacted many times before and has become a staple of pop culture.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
"I had two shots in my big Speed Graphic but I didn't even have time to get it up to my eye. I literally 'shot' from the hip. It was over so fast there was nothing else to do."
-Sam Shere comments on his experience when he took his famous picture.