Every so often, we at The A.V. Club come across a staged press photo so beautiful and moving that it transcends the realm of mere publicity shot and becomes art. Great Moments In Press Photos celebrates those occasions.
Behold the man.
His name? T.C. Callahan. His occupation? Rebel doctor. “How can we convey that T.C. Callahan is the most rebellious doctor of all rebel doctors?” asks the NBC publicity department responsible for press coverage of upcoming hospital drama The Night Shift. Their answer? Place him on a motorcycle in a hospital. Salvation will not come like a thief in the night. It will come on the back of a fucking motorcycle, driven right through the doors of the local hospital and into the waiting room. On its way, it will pick up some six-month-old issues of People magazine, because it has good bedside manner. Salvation is the man on the bike. Salvation is T.C. Callahan, rebel doctor.
But T.C. is not the only reason you should get all of your overnight health-care needs met by the staff of San Antonio Memorial. No. The staff of this hospital is so dedicated to your needs, oh viewer, that its members will awkwardly Photoshop themselves into press stills just so they might be near T.C. when he rockets to your side. They will run, wind streaming through their hair. They will crawl, looks of pure desperation on their faces. They will reach one arm outward, as if to say, “Stop!” but you know they are really saying, “Go!” because it is only your health they wish to protect.
Look upon the full version of the photo here. Notice how beautifully it uses negative space. Those ceiling tiles suggest not a poorly cropped photo but, instead, the infinite. If T.C. Callahan and the doctors of San Antonio Memorial were your primary health-care providers, you would never need fear death. You, too, would transcend time and space and be able to ride motorcycles in hospitals. We are trapped between ceiling and floor, but a man on a motorcycle shall lead us.
For the past several years, the Barack Obama administration has struggled with how to sell the American public on the virtues of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. In this press photo, NBC and the Night Shift publicity team have given the administration a great gift. This—THIS—is the face of Obamacare. A man on a motorcycle and those who would crawl to help him and a solemn contemplation of the infinite. Now we all need never die.
This has been Great Moments In Press Photos.