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A photo that sunk a political career – National Observer

May 29th 2024

They say a photo is worth a thousand words. Sometimes, it’s worth your career.

A momentary snapshot can send the public a strong signal about what a politician’s fate could be. It can seem to seal that fate.

That was in part the case for former Progressive Conservative leader Robert Stanfield, who was captured in an award-winning photo that became one of Canada’s most legendary political images.

Fifty years ago, on May 30, 1974, former Canadian Press photographer Doug Ball was there when Stanfield tossed around a pigskin with reporters as they travelled together for an election campaign.

While the Opposition leader caught some tosses, the photo most news outlets chose for their front page showed him with his hands clasped, brows furled, lips pursed and knees buckled as a football dropped to the ground in front of him.

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