1973 Photo Contest, Photo Sequences, 1st prize

Horst Ossinger

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

01 February, 1972

Queen Elizabeth II is distracted while watching a parade of elephants during her state visit to Thailand. In a letter to World Press Photo, Horst Ossinger told World Press Photo how he made this picture: 'The official photo-session had already finished an I was quickly taking, what I thought would be my last shot on this particular session, when I discovered a peculiar look on the Queen's face. I was using a Leicaflex with 180 mm lens at the time and starter [sic] the motor of the camera.' When Ossinger was awarded in the 1973 contest, Time magazine wrote in its People section: 'In each successive frame the royal expression got curiouser and curiouser. With her camera resting on her lap in the best tourist manner, Queen Elizabeth was cheerfully taking tea and watching a parade elf elephants while on her tour of Thailand last year. Suddenly, in a series of baffling photographs just published in London, Elizabeth registered first dismay, then pain, then a rictus of what looked like sheer agony. Was it tea? A tack on the chair? Back trouble? Horst Ossinger, the German photographer who caught the moment with a telephoto lens, and won the Holland World Press Photo Contest prize for it, doesn't know. And the Queen isn't telling.'

About the photographer

Horst Ossinger

Technical information

Focal length
180 mm
2.8 f

This image is collected in