Editors like feature photos with unusual shapes because they allow them to do something different with page layouts. You wouldn’t want to go running in with some extreme like this on deadline, because of the work it would cause to change headline sizes, story placement and jumps, but it was great to have in the bucket for a slow day.
In West Palm Beach, Florida Power & Light (AKA FP&L or Florida Plunder & Loot) had a bunch of poles set up for training. Rookies would climb and reclimb the poles until they got good at it. You’d drive by to see half a dozen guys (is was all male then) playing catch with basketballs. A miss meant you had to climb down, retrieve the ball and climb back up.
I thought maybe that’s what was going on here until I looked more closely. It looks like the three guys on the poles are positioned to attach another piece of diagonal bracing after the fellow on the ground hoists it up to them.
The Kiss of Life
They would also practice doing the Kiss of Life: mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while hanging in the air.
Photographer Rocco Morabito won a Pulitzer prize for one of the most dramatic rescue photos I’ve ever seen, and one I had in the back of my mind on every spot news run.
Follow this link to see the photo, read Marabito’s account of taking it, and to find out what happened to the guy whose life was saved.