20 Most Powerful Photographs Ever Taken : #11
The Most Beautiful Suicide
Evelyn Francis McHale was a bookkeeper at an engraving company and lived in Baldwin, New York. Thursday, 1 May 1947, she went to the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building. Later around 10:40 am Patrolman John Morrissey heard a crash and saw a crowd converge on 34th street. Evelyn had jumped, cleared the setbacks, and landed on the roof of a United Nations Assembly limousine parked on 34th street, some 200 feet west of 5th Ave.
Robert Wiles, a photographer student took a photo of McHale a few minutes after her death. After Wiles sold his photograph to Life magazine it was widely reprinted and Evelyn’s image has become something of a pop culture icon. Warhol even expropriated it for his 1962 painting, Suicide (Fallen Body).