Rocco Morabito – The Kiss of Life


Rocco Morabito won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Spot Photography for this photograph – “The Kiss of Life.”

Apprentice lineman J.D. Thompson is breathing life into the mouth of another apprentice lineman, Randall G. Champion, who hangs unconscious after receiving a jolt of high voltage. 

Morabito was driving on West 26th Street in July 1967 on another assignment when he saw Champion dangling from the pole.  He called an ambulance and grabbed his camera.

Champion recovered.

In 2000, Rocco Morabito, at the age of 79, said, “I get requests all the time from people who teach mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and have proof that it works.  I am proud of that.”

© All rights reserved by Rocco Morabito, Jacksonville Journal (no longer in publication), and whomever else might own the copyright to this photo.

Jacksonville Journal on Wikipedia

I added some information to the Wikipedia article on him April 7, 2009:

Rocco Morabito on Wikipedia

Rocco with his famous photograph:


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Commentary:  I originally saw a large (maybe 28 inches wide and 36 inches tall) print of this photo several months ago during a touring exhibition of all the Pulitzer Prize winning photos since the 1940s.  I had never seen the image before, so when I first encountered it, it was striking (especially in such a large scale).

There are no homosexuals in the picture (to the best of my knowledge).  And I doubt Morabito, in the instant of taking the photo, had the intent to frame homosexual symbolism in a positive context.  But the photo did suggest this question in me:

If after clear and patient analysis, it became apparent that homosexual actions would help someone close to you over the long term, would you have enough independent knowledge, education, and courage to attempt the option?

Or would your training and conditioning preclude you from even considering the option?

Yesterday, Veronica commented about the common programming so many of us receive.  Her comment arose in response to yesterday’s post of beautiful, loving, & intimate photos by Heather Corinna.  She highlighted that so many of us are taught that many sexual actions are obscene or filthy long before we experience them for ourselves, long before we discover whether or not they are pleasant or healthy for everyone involved.

Love requires courage and independent investigation.  I think love is more concerned about quality of character than it is about gender.

Most people, including many homosexuals, believe that sexual or loving desires for someone of the same sex are something that is genetically predisposed.  That may be true often.  But love or sexual desire for someone of the same sex can also arise out of carefully reasoned and chosen decisions, chosen against most the familial and cultural instructions a person has received growing up.

My social and educational experience has suggested to me that the more empathetic and intelligent a person is, the more likely they are to be drawn to other specific people by the quality of a specific person’s character than simply by their gender.  Gender either does not remain a discriminating factor, or it loses its importance as an excluding factor.  The more well read and the more educated in literature and the arts a person is, the more likely (on average) a person is able to understand someone who chooses homosexual or bisexual actions as a considerate and compassionate option.

Here are books on related topics:

Closer to Home: Bisexuality & Feminism (Women’s Studies/Gay Studies)
by Elizabeth Reba Weise

Dual Attraction: Understanding Bisexuality
by Martin S. Weinberg

Current Research on Bisexuality
by Ronald C. Fox

I have written reviews of all 3 books on Amazon.  The reviews can be read by going to the “Amazon Reviews” link in the right column of this page, then paging down to the last page of reviews (because the 3 reviews above were some of the first I wrote on Amazon).

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