Amid the shocking images that emerged from Vancouver on Wednesday night – cars engulfed in flames, masked looters, bloody fists and broken storefronts – one image in particular stood out for showing none of those things.

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The search for the couple began on Twitter shortly after 10 a.m. ET Thursday.

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Our followers immediately retweeted, and within minutes tips began trickling in.

At first the sense was the photo was actually staged, or even art. Or was it an homage to "The Kiss," an art show staged at New York's Guggenheim Museum in 2010?

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And then a second image of the couple appeared, this time on Facebook.

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Seen from a rooftop, the couple looked far less romantic than they did in the first shot, which led many to speculate about the couple's condition – and whether the woman in the couple had suffered a medical emergency.

The search for the couple spread, around Canada and then to the U.S.

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It wasn't long before the couple – or at least their image – began to appear in all sorts of unlikely places.

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Yet as the fun got underway, many still doubted the legitimacy of the image.

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At 3:25 p.m. ET, Esquire, which earlier had declared the photo:

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published an interview with the photographer who snapped the iconic pic, Rich Lam of Getty. "It was complete chaos," Lam wrote for Esquire  of the riots. He was running from riot police when he "noticed in the space behind the line of police that two people were laying in the street … [with] a raging fire just beyond them."

"I knew I had captured a 'moment' when I snapped the still forms against the backdrop of such chaos," Lam told Esquire.

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Lam told the Vancouver Sun he has more pictures of the couple that he's prepared to release.

In the meantime, the search for the couple continues. Will they come forward? Do they even know they're being sought?

Do you know the couple? If you can help us identify them, email us at yournews@cbc.ca