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News & Insight

The AP Marks The 70th Anniversary of The Famous Iwo Jima Photo | Inspiration For Generations

By Kishore Sawh on February 23rd 2015

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When we think of things that are iconically American, images of them flash into mind. Some may see a shuttle launching from Cape Canaveral surrounded by a cheering throng, or some may see a bottle of Coca-Cola, and for many, the first image that comes to mind is the American flag, ‘Old Glory,’ or ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ as it is affectionately known.

With America’s dominance in the 20th Century as the world’s leading super power both in terms of military might and economical size, it’s fair to say that the flag is one of the most recognizable items the world over. If you were to ask many Americans how they envision their flag, some may tell you it’s the image of one on the front porch of their parents’ house, or buzzing wildly as part of the presidential motorcade, and more many, without question it’s the image captured by Joe Rosenthal, of six American soldiers raising the flag on Mount Suribachi in the Battle Of Iwo Jima – one of the most important, fiercest, and bloodiest battles of the Second World War.

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That image is now 70 years old and as relevant today as it ever was, and as recognizable. The year it was published, it won the Pulizer Prize which makes it the only image ever to have done that in the same year of its release. And to honor it, the man who took it, and the men featured in it and those it represents, the Associated Press has created and released a short film narrated by Rosenthal himself, as he recalls the story of how the image came to be.

[REWIND: Leica 100 Video | Recreating The World’s Most Iconic Images To Celebrate A Century]

Rosenthal recalls how it was actually the second flag to be raised in that spot, given that a General thought the first was too small, and gives insight into one of the most iconic images ever made. It’s an image that has helped inspire a generation to serve their country.

Source: ISO1200, The Associated Press

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. claude laramée

    I know when I see a good photograph … I get the chills ! I wasn’t born then + I’m canadian, but this one give me the chills. Today with IPone and millions of pictures uploaded (per day) on the internet, I somehow don’t get many chills … I think the most powerful images still remain the ones that tells a story… I have still a lot to learn about photography .

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  2. robert garfinkle

    I am coming to realize that my photographic equipment means very little; the most powerful tools I have are teachability tethered to an open mind…

    — anonymous

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  3. Jim Johnson

    I love how there is a link in the middle of the article to the Leica advertising campaign that tried to claim credit for this and many more shots.

    You can see it clearly in the photo of him in uniform… that’s not a Leica in his hand.

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  4. robert garfinkle

    I often wonder, who makes the image, who captures the moment? Is it the photographer? or is it what the photographer captures? or, is it both? chicken / egg vs. egg / chicken thing, dunno…

    Can’t imagine what was going through the mind of Mr. Rosenthal at the moment of capture or for that matter, the soldiers raising the flag… I would imagine it t’was a similar moment for the photographer / firemen who did the same during 911…

    This is the whole reason I purchased a camera in the first place. It was not to be the lucky photo-journalist in moments like these. I can’t think like that, seriously can not… yet, to be able to journalize period, for the enjoyment of it, things that have meaning to me, and others…

    though my emphasis has been, colors, clarity, composing, etc, yet those are not so important as the raw capture of the event… having said that, I should be happy with a phone camera right, as it should not make a difference, and it really doesn’t…

    just capturing the moment, is all that counts…

    and so it goes.

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