On May 1, 1947, Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the observation deck of the Empire State Building.
The photo ran a couple of weeks later in Life magazine accompanied by the following caption:
On May Day, just after leaving her fiancé, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale wrote a note. 'He is much better off without me ... I wouldn't make a good wife for anybody,' ... Then she crossed it out. She went to the observation platform of the Empire State Building. Through the mist she gazed at the street, 86 floors below. Then she jumped. In her desperate determination she leaped clear of the setbacks and hit a United Nations limousine parked at the curb. Across the street photography student Robert Wiles heard an explosive crash. Just four minutes after Evelyn McHale's death Wiles got this picture of death's violence and its composure.
The serenity of McHale's body amidst the crumpled wreckage it caused is astounding.
Evelyn, still clutching a pearl necklace, looks disarmingly placid and composed – as if simply asleep. Around her, however, the broken glass and crumpled sheet metal of a car roof show the brutally destructive evidence of her 1050 ft jump. Some 60 years later the photo remains as haunting and affecting as when it was first published.
Freddy Nock from Switzerland balances on the ropeway of a cable car leading on Germany's highest mountain, the 2,962 metre (9,718 feet) Zugspitze, near the southern Bavarian resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen August 20, 2011. Nock balanced on the 995 meters long rope to break his own world record, as part of a charity event.