This is the infamous image of a group of students relaxing in the sun on September 11, 2001, unaware of the events behind them. The picture was taken by Thomas Hoepker of Magnum Pictures less than an hour after the planes had struck the World Trade Centre (and the subject of much angst-ridden discussion on the fate of photojournalism last year.)
Below is one of the brilliant pictures taken by photographer Arnold Genthe of the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906.
Both pictures show human dis/engagement with disaster.
The first picture's shocking: but it suffers from the usual weird, cool, self-referential photographic thing, where image-making, rather than the image itself is what counts.
The second picture has all the excitement of the sensational, laced with Cronenberg car crash voyeurism. Over time it has also acquired a mega layer of 'dejeuner sur l'herbe' irony.
In both pictures, disaster is background scenery.
Which is the more comic? And which the more tragic?