Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Iconic Photographs - 2

The Tennis Girl    -   Space Shuttle 'Challenger'   -   Racism in the USA    -   Leap for Freedom      -   Political Protest in Vietnam   -   The Falling Man    -   Summary Execution    -   Sudanese Child   -   The Compassion of a Priest   -   Guerrillero Heroica (Che Guevera)   -   VJ Day in Times Square    -   The Agony of Omayra    -   The Kim Phuc Story    -   Tank Man    -   The First Photograph Of The Earth   -   The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising   -   9/11 - The Attack On America   -   Marilyn Monroe   -   Political Murder In Japan   -   The Kiss Of Life     -   August Landmesser, Conscientious Objector   -   Firing Squad In Iran   -  The Hindenburg Disaster   -   The Assassination of President Kennedy   -   The National September 11th Memorial   -   VE Day In London  -   Acid In The Pool    -   The Most Beautiful Suicide

17 March 2015

Japanese Execution   -   Black Power   -   The Loch Ness Monster   -   The Marlboro Man   -   Raising The Flag On Iwo Jima   -   Nazis In The Ukraine

Japanese Execution

This image epitomises the brutality of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War. The photograph is believed to be of Australian Sergeant Leonard Siffleet, who was captured with two companions (all in uniform, and carrying out legitimate military duties) whilst on a reconnaissance mission in New Guinea and executed by beheading on 24th October 1943.

Siffleet and his companions were interrogated and tortured before being beheaded at Aitape Beach on the orders of Vice-Admiral Mchiaki Kamada. The soldier carrying out the execution of Siffleet was named Yasuno Chikao.
The photograph of Siffleet's execution was discovered on the body of a dead Japanese soldier by American troops in April 1944. It was published in LIFE magazine, but it was claimed by some people that the solider was, in fact, Flt Lt Bill Newton, VC, who had been captured in Salamaua, Papua New Guinea, and beheaded on 29th March 1943. The evidence, however, strongly indicates that the photograph shows Leonard Siffleet.

Despite the alternative claims, the photograph became an enduring image of the war against the Japanese in the Pacific, and the horrors faced by many allied prisoners-of-war and, indeed, by many civilians during that time.

Siffleet's two companions were Private Reharin and Private Pattiwahl of the Netherlands East Indies Forces. In this photograph, Private Reharin is being beheaded on another part of the beach by Japanese soldier Yunome Kunio, who was later sentenced to death for his part in the atrocity (later commuted to 10 years imprisonment). Private Pattiwahl was also executed, but no photographs exist of his beheading.

(Photo source: Australian War Memorial)

   It's not clear what happened to Siffleet's executioner, Yasuno Chikao. He was reported variously to have been killed in battle, captured and sentenced to hanging, or captured and sentenced to ten years imprisonment, but it's not known for sure what was his fate.
   Vice-Admiral Kamada, however, who ordered these executions, as well as the executions of thousands of civilians and other prisoners-of-war, was sentenced to death and executed on 18th October 1947. He was hanged - not beheaded.

The Pacific War Historical Society (Australia) has extensive information on the Japanese denial of these war crimes.

Black Power

Often called "The most memorable moment in sports history", American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos created a worldwide sensation at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City when they displayed the 'black power' salute on the presentation podium as the US National Anthem was being played.
(Photo: John Dominis/LIFE)

On the morning of October 17th, 1968, the two athletes, along with Australian sprinter Peter Norman, won medals in the 200 metres - Smith had won gold, Norman silver and Carlos bronze - and the presentation ceremony was taking place.

The two U.S. athletes received their medals shoeless, but wearing black socks, to represent black poverty. Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent black pride and Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with all blue collar workers in the U.S.

All three athletes wore Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) badges - the Australian, Peter Norman, had expressed empathy with their ideals, and had, himself, been a vocal critic of Australia's 'White Australia' Policy.

The two Americans were kicked out of the Olympics following this protest, and were largely ostracized by the U.S. sporting establishment in the years that followed. Peter Norman was reprimanded by Australia's Olympic Committee and similarly ostracized by the Australian media, and that treatment of Norman lasted for the remainder of his life, but all three continued their association with athletics over the ensuing years.

Tommie Smith went on to play in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, before becoming an assistant professor of Physical Education at Oberlin College. In 1995, he went on to help coach the U.S. team at the World Indoor Championships at Barcelona. In 1999 he was awarded the California Black Sportsman of the Millennium Award. He is now a public speaker.

John Carlos' career followed a similar path to Smith's. He played in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, before a knee injury prematurely ended his career. In 1982, he was employed by the Organizing Committee for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles to promote the Games and act as liaison with the city's black community. In 1985, he became a track and field coach at Palm Springs High School.

The Australian, Peter Norman was not picked for the 1972 Summer Olympics, despite finishing third in his trials. He kept running, but contracted gangrene in 1985 after tearing his Achilles tendon, which nearly led to his leg being amputated. Depression and heavy drinking followed. He suffered a heart attack and died on October 3, 2006. Smith and Carlos were pallbearers at his funeral.

Pallbearers Tommie Smith & John Carlos at Peter Norman's (inset) funeral in 2006.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos accept the 2008 ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for their black-gloved salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The presentation was held at NOKIA Theatre in Los Angeles on July 16, 2008.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)

An ESPY Award (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award) is an accolade presented by the American cable television network ESPN to recognize individual and team athletic achievement and other sports-related performances.

The Loch Ness Monster

An iconic photograph is one that is instantly recognisable, and they don't come more instantly recognisable than this one - a photograph of 'Nessie', the famous Loch Ness Monster. There are numerous other photographs claiming to be of Nessie, but this one - known as the "Surgeon's Photograph" - is the only one that purports to show a head and a neck of the animal. Other photographs are either just humps or disturbances in the water of the Scottish loch.

The photograph was supposedly taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London gynaecologist, and was published in the Daily Mail on 21 April 1934. Wilson refused to have his name associated with the picture, so it became known simply as the "Surgeon's Photograph".

Extensive analysis of the image has been undertaken over the years, and it's known today that the photograph is an elaborate hoax. The actual size of the 'monster' is quite small - just 2 to 3 feet long - and examination of the negative shows a white object (not visible in the normal image) which is the source of the small ripples surrounding the body, giving the appearance of the object being towed by something out of frame.

The object was also said to be a picture of an elephant with its trunk raised and its head partially below the water, and research has shown that there was, indeed, a travelling circus featuring elephants and other animals in the area at the time the picture was taken.

The full truth, however, was revealed in 1993 by the person who actually made the model of Nessie and floated it on Loch Ness to be photographed. His name was Christian Spurling, a professional model-maker, and he had been asked by his stepfather, Marmaduke Wetherell (pictured above), to make the model.
It was to satisfy his employer, the Daily Mail, who had commissioned him to capture pictures of the real Loch Ness Monster. Wetherell thought it would be much easier to make a monster out of wood putty and a child's small tin submarine, than to hang around a chilly loch and wait for a live monster to appear.

The surgeon, Dr Wilson, after whom the photograph was named, was only the 'front man' in the scam, and was used in order to provide an air of respectability to the 'monster' claim. The actual photograph that's become such an icon was taken by Wetherell's other son, Ian.
Several expensive and highly technical searches of Loch Ness have taken place over the years, including one in 2003 by the BBC, which used 600 separate sonar beams, but no animal of any substantial size was found.

 Despite all that, millions of people still believe there's a prehistoric monster of some sort living in Loch Ness, and the local tourist authority isn't in any hurry to change peoples' opinions. The myth brings many thousands of visitors every year and it seems a somewhat harmless pastime for Nessie watchers to hang around with their cameras hoping to be the first to photograph the real monster.

 Unfortunately, however, it seems they'll be waiting a long time.

The Marlboro Man

The Marlboro Man was an iconic advertising image from the 1950's to the 1990's and the craggy cowboy's face was seen on billboards around the world, portraying the 'manly' image of smoking Marlboro cigarettes The advertising campaign was an incredible success, and was hailed as one of the most brilliant ad campaigns of all time.

When Marlboro was introduced in 1924, it was marketed as a woman’s cigarette and had the slogan “Mild as May”. It featured a filter tip - and such an embellishment on a cigarette was considered far too feminine for a man.

When advertising executive Leo Burnett decided to change the image of the cigarette in 1954 and to make it a more masculine product, he devised the Marlboro Man campaign, and sales rocketed almost overnight. Within a year, the cigarette brand was raking in $US5 billion - a 3,000% jump over the previous year - and Marlboro was boosted to the top of the worldwide cigarette market. At its peak (in 1957) sales were $US20 billion a year.

The original image of the Marlboro Man, photographed by Leonard McCombe, was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine 5 years earlier, where it was later seen by Leo Burnett, and used as the basis for the campaign, where look-alike models were used.

 The cowboy was a 39-year-old Texas ranch foreman named Clarence Hailey Long, and his image epitomised the quiet, unassuming but ultra-tough cowboy of the time - reminiscent, perhaps, of the later image of Clint Eastwood who starred in "A Fistful Of Dollars" and other so-called spaghetti westerns, popular during the 1960's.

Clint Eastwood as 'The Man With No Name' in 'A Fistful Of Dollars'

The Marlboro Man was called The Most Influential Man Who Never Lived and was depicted by many people over the ensuing years, right up until 1999 when the campaign ceased because of the well-publicised links between cancer and smoking and the banning of cigarette advertising in the media - particularly on TV.



This photograph of Marine Corporal James Blake Miller, taken in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 by Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times was dubbed 'The Marlboro Marine' because of its resemblance to the old advertisements for Marlboro cigarettes, and it became an iconic photograph in its own right after being published on front pages around the world.

How the New York Post published the photograph.

Today, things are different for James Blake Miller. His moment of fame as the Marlboro Marine was fleeting, and he no longer bears much resemblance to the picture published in 2004. Exactly a year after the photograph appeared, he was discharged from the Marines with a 'personality disorder'.

Soon afterwards, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, was divorced from his wife, became jobless and at times suicidal. Things spiralled downhill for him, mainly it seems from his experiences in Iraq, and he's been helped principally by Luis Sinco, the Los Angeles Times photographer who took that now famous picture.


 To read more about James Blake Miller click HERE



Raising The Flag On Iwo Jima

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is one of the best-known photographs of the Second World War. The photograph was taken on February 23, 1945, by US war correspondent Joe Rosenthal (Associated Press) and won The Pulitzer Prize in that year. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States at the summit of Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

Of the six men depicted in the photograph, three (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank) were killed during the battle and the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) became 'celebrities'  because of the picture.

Joe Rosenthal photographing the servicemen as an entire group, following the raising of the flag. Being fairly small in stature, Rosenthal is standing on a sandbag and ammunition box in order to capture a good angle.

Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal (October 9, 1911 – August 20, 2006)

The iconic photograph was later used by Felix de Weldon  to sculpt the USMC War Memorial, located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C. This photograph was taken at the memorial on 8 July 2008 during the USMC Sunset Parade.

The picture taken by Joe Rosenthal, actually captured the SECOND flag-raising event of the day. A US flag was first raised atop Mount Suribachi soon after it was captured, which was early on the same morning  (23 February 1945) and photographed by Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery, a photographer with Leatherneck magazine. 

But the flag - taken from the transport ship USS Missoula - was too small to be seen easily from nearby landing beaches and so a second flag raising was organised. It was this second flag raising photograph that became the iconic photograph known so well today.

This photograph is the one taken by Louis Lowery, following the first flag-raising.

The flags from both the first and second flag raisings are conserved in the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The second flag, pictured here, was damaged by the high winds at the peak of Suribachi. Like all American flags during World War II, it has 48 stars, since Alaska and Hawaii were not yet U.S. States.

A 1945 US postage stamp, picturing the famous flag raising on Iwo Jima.


There's been continual controversy over the years about whether or not the second flag raising could be described as "staged".

In a way, I suppose it was staged, because it wasn't a 'spur of the moment' decision to raise the flag on the second occasion,  but it WAS a genuine photograph of the flag raising, and none of the participants were posing artificially, so the accusations of "staging" the photograph aren't really valid. 

One New York Times book reviewer went so far as to suggest revoking Rosenthal's Pulitzer Prize. For the decades that followed, Rosenthal had repeatedly and vociferously denied claims that the flag raising was staged, saying:  "I don't know how to get across to anybody what 50 years of constant repetition means." 

The general - and official - consensus of opinion, however, is that the photograph should NOT be considered as staged.

Nazis In The Ukraine

There are countless photographs taken of Nazi atrocities during World War 2, but this particular photograph has become an iconic example of the way in which German army mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen) carried out the executions of Jews during their invasion of the Soviet Union (known as Operation Barbarossa).

This photograph shows the execution of Jews near Ivanograd, Ukraine in 1942. The executioner appears to be standing over the body of an already executed person, while he prepares to shoot a woman with a child in her arms, with the gun barrels of other executioners visible at the left-hand edge of the image.

The photograph (photographer unknown) was mailed from the Eastern Front to Germany, but was intercepted at a Warsaw post office by a member of the Polish resistance. The original print was owned by Tadeusz Mazur and Jerzy Tomaszewski and now resides in Historical Archives in Warsaw. The original German inscription on the back of the photograph reads, “Ukraine 1942, Jewish Action (operation), Ivanograd.”

Between 1941 and 1945, approximately 3,000,000 Ukrainian and other non-Jewish victims were killed as part of Nazi extermination policies, along with between 850,000 – 900,000 Jews who lived in the territory of modern Ukraine. Original plans of genocide by the Nazis called for the extermination of 65% of the nation’s 23.2 million Ukrainians, with the remainder of the inhabitants to be used as slaves.


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