Emoting is their stock in trade

August 06, 1998|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,SUN STAFF

Don't know much about the stock market -- but we do know a stock stock-market picture when we see one.

When the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped, tumbled and even plunged Tuesday, national newspapers responded in full photographic force. And no picture said it better than The Sun's front-page photo of trader Salvatore Testa on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Testa was photographed sitting very alone, with his right hand palming his worried brow, his eyes downcast and the trading floor characteristically doused with trading slips.

It's the agony of defeat. It's one really bad day at the office. And it's a picture that's worth a thousand -- other pictures. Maybe it's a different day, a different trader, a different disaster, but it's essentially the same picture every time -- The Quintessential Dow-Jones-Disaster Photo. We've all seen it, and they've all shot it.

"People don't want to see happy faces. They want to see some emotional reaction from the traders," says Reggie Lewis, a photo editor for the Associated Press in New York. On dramatic occasion, AP covers the stock market, and its photos run in newspapers worldwide.

Lewis has seen it all, including one of his favorite, old-faithful stock-market shots: "The trader looking up at the board with a pensive look -- kind of like the look my dog has sometimes."

In all these pictures, notice the trader's hands, Lewis says. The hands are about the only feature that separates the pictures. The hand variations are both subtle and spectacular -- if you are trained in the art of Dow-Jones-Disaster Hand-Noticing.

In this gallery of Sun pics published in only the last few years, we have identified the official hand placements used by NYSE traders. You may never again look at a stock market picture the same way.

Pub date: 8/06/98

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