Thirty years on, the Tiananmen Square image that shocked the world

Photographer Jeff Widener explains how a series of mishaps meant it was almost the picture that got away A solitary figure in a white shirt and black trousers clutches a bag and stands in front of a column of halted tanks, a cluster of street lights floating to one side like balloons. The mans shoulders are rounded, Time magazines 100 most influential of all time that has become the most famous. Every Tank Man photo has a different flavour. I think I was lucky I was using such a fine-grained film. It allowed it to be blown up larger. I think mine also has a more Gandhi feel. He looks more vulnerable: a common man asking a question, like: why …