Alberto Reyes’ Iconic Photo

What makes a photo truly iconic? It is those photos taken at a precise moment in time, capturing an unforgettable, historic image that can never be replicated again.

Reuters photographer Alberto Reyes accomplished this on March 20, 2016, in Havana, Cuba. His snapshot of Air Force One descending into Havana, Cuba, with U.S. President Barack Obama aboard, was spread thousands of times across the internet, and will likely be a lasting symbol of this historic event.


Air Force One carrying President Barack Obama and his family flies over a neighborhood of Havana as it approaches the runway to land at Havana’s international airport. REUTERS, Photo by Alberto Reyes (March 21, 2016)

After decades of conflict and frozen relations, this was the first time in 88 years a U.S. President visited the communist island.

Reyes should be praised for being in the right place at the right time.  While most photographers were gathered at José Martí Airport to photograph the President disembarking from the plane, Reyes hung back. Strategically placing himself below the projected flight path of Air Force One, he took his iconic photo at the exact right time.

In his photo, Air Force One appears to materialize like an alien spacecraft descending onto the surface of a lost world. The gleaming steel jet aircraft contrasts with the rugged structures and old vehicles on the ground. To add effect, are the Cuban citizens on the ground, looking up at the plane against the stormy skies.

Photographs like this are simply awesome, and Alberto Reyes should be commended for this work. These images are what inspire us to ditch our smart-phones for a good quality camera and take real photographs.

Alberto Reyes’ Original Photo:
You’ll find Reyes’ original photograph on Reuters’ website, here:
(It’s not the easiest site to navigate, which is why I also posted the Instagram version here)

You’ll also likely find it on Reuters’ Instagram account, here: @Reuters or

I also give credit to Anil Dash (@anildash), who tweeted the photo to 580,000 of his followers on Twitter (where I first saw it), allowing many others to see this extraordinary image .

Mike Chopowick – March 24, 2016



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