I have been spending the last couple of days watching photographs. Great, you will say. Not really. Why not? You will ask. Because I have not found what I was looking for. And before you start singing U2 or Rolling Stones songs about not finding what you are looking for and not always getting what you want, let me tell you that I have not found I got what I needed either. What EUROPE needed actually. There was absolutely no need for this musical reference but boy, I love these songs! What was I looking for? An iconic image. A memorable photo. One that could immediately transmit what the EU has been, is and hopefully will be about. The main reason for my search is that I realised that every big event, moment or big change in history, good or bad, has at least one picture that captures it and makes it indelible for future generations. Here is just an incredibly small selection:
Pretty strong images don’t you find? Truth be told, I did find one for the European Union as well. But it dates back to 1984. And I am sure some of you will dispute this is a photo of an iconic EU moment as it was taken during a Franco-German meeting but it does epitomises perfectly the raison d’être of the EU.
So, as I think I should try to be more interactive, – and I need help! – I will ask you to help me find another one. Is there somewhere a more recent photo that represents the EU, just as memorable as Mitterrand and Kohl holding hands? If it’s hard to find, does that mean it is difficult to find anything memorable? What should we make of that?
We all agree the EU needs stronger symbols. If you search ‘European Union’ in Google Images all that comes out, in every possible shape or form, is the blue flag with yellow stars. So, increasing the variety of symbols would not be a bad start. But symbols alone are not enough. Inspiring behaviour of European leaders would itself create memorable images and with that new, positive associations with the European Union.
Such imagery would easily replace the tedious family photos and stills of the press conferences of European Summits. Unless, of course, these beautiful EU images already exist and I had simply missed them…
And just to leave you with a funny question about iconic photos and cameras… I know it’s not really the first camera and it is a bit silly, but it did make me laugh: