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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Raising the flag on Iwo Jima ~ iconic award-winning photo

                             Are you interested in photography ? – what is the settings that you would keep in your dslr F8 – shutter speed 1/400 !?!? – what is the significance ?

Joseph John Rosenthal was an American photographer; he  was rejected by the U.S. Army as a photographer because of poor eyesight.. In 1941, he attended the University of San Francisco and joined the staff of the Associated Press (AP). In 1943, he joined the United States Maritime Service as a photographer and served as a warrant officer documenting life aboard ship in the British Isles and North Africa. In 1944, he rejoined the Associated Press and followed the United States Army and U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater of Operations as a war correspondent at Hollandia, New Guinea, Guam, Peleliu, Angaur, and Iwo Jima.    He shot to prominence with a photo taken on this day in 1945 -   American people saw Rosenthal's photo as a potent symbol of victory.Wire services flashed this photograph around the world in time to appear in the Sunday newspapers on February 25, 1945.  Many magazines ran the photo on their covers. After the battle for Iwo Jima was over and won, the photo was used for posters in war bond drives through over 30 cities from May 11 through July 4, 1945 which raised $26.3 billion.

Mount Suribachi  is a 169-metre (554 ft)-high mountain on the southwest end of Iwo Jima in the northwest Pacific Ocean under the administration of Ogasawara Subprefecture, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan.The mountain's name derives from its shape, resembling a suribachi or grinding bowl. Joe Rosenthal's iconic World War II photograph, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, depicting United States Marines raising an American flag, was taken at the mountain's peak during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Ammunition ship USS Suribachi was named after this mountain.

Iwo Jima (sulfur island), is one of the Japanese Volcano Islands and lies south of the Bonin Islands. Together with other islands, they form the Ogasawara Archipelago. The highest point of Iwo Jima is Mount Suribachi at 169 m (554 ft) high.  This island was the location of the Battle of Iwo Jima between February 1945 and March 1945. This engagement saw some of the fiercest fighting of the Pacific War, with each side suffering over 20,000 casualties in the battle. The island became globally recognized when Joe Rosenthal, of the Associated Press, published his photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken on Mount Suribachi. The US military occupied Iwo Jima until 1968, when it was returned to Japan.

The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February – 26 March 1945) was a major battle in which the United States Marine Corps and United States Navy landed on and eventually captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) during World War II. The American invasion, designated Operation Detachment, had the purpose of capturing the island with its two airfields: South Field and Central Field.

The five-week battle saw some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the Pacific War.The Japanese combat deaths numbered three times the number of American deaths, but uniquely among Pacific War Marine battles, the American total casualties (dead and wounded) exceeded those of the Japanese.  Of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner, some of whom were captured only because they had been knocked unconscious or otherwise disabled. Most of the remainder were killed in action, but it has been estimated that as many as 3,000 continued to resist within the various cave systems for many days afterwards until they eventually succumbed to their injuries or surrendered weeks later.

Despite the bloody fighting and severe casualties on both sides, the American victory was assured from the start. Overwhelming American superiority in numbers and arms as well as complete air supremacy—coupled with the impossibility of Japanese retreat or reinforcement, as well as sparse food and supplies—permitted no plausible circumstance in which the Japanese could have ultimately won the battle.The action was controversial, with retired Chief of Naval Operations William V. Pratt stating that the island was useless to the Army as a staging base and useless to the Navy as a fleet base. The Japanese continued to have early-warning radar from Rota island, which was never invaded, and the captured air field was barely used.

On February 19, 1945, the United States invaded Iwo Jima as part of its island-hopping strategy to defeat Japan. Iwo Jima originally was not a target, but the relatively quick fall of the Philippines left the Americans with a longer-than-expected lull prior to the planned invasion of Okinawa. Iwo Jima is located halfway between Japan and the Mariana Islands, where American long-range bombers were based, and was used by the Japanese as an early warning station, radioing warnings of incoming American bombers to the Japanese homeland. The island is dominated by Mount Suribachi, a 546-foot (166 m) dormant volcanic cone at the southern tip of the island. Tactically, the top of Suribachi was one of the most important locations on the island. From that vantage point, the Japanese defenders were able to spot artillery accurately onto the Americans—particularly the landing beaches. The Japanese fought most of the battle from underground bunkers and pillboxes. The American effort concentrated on isolating and capturing Suribachi first, a goal that was achieved on February 23, 1945, four days after the battle began. Despite capturing Suribachi, the battle continued to rage for many days, and the island would not be declared "secure" until 31 days later, on March 26. 

  Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is an iconic photograph of six United States Marines raising the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the final stages of the Pacific War. The photograph, taken by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press on February 23, 1945, was first published in Sunday newspapers two days later and reprinted in thousands of publications. It was the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and was later used for the construction of the Marine Corps War Memorial in 1954, which was dedicated to honor all Marines who died in service since 1775.  The flag raising occurred in the early afternoon, after the mountaintop was captured and a smaller flag was raised on top that morning. Three of the six Marines in the photograph—Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Block, and Private First Class Franklin Sousley—were killed in action during the battle; Block was identified as Sergeant Hank Hansen until January 1947 and Sousley was identified as PhM2c. John Bradley, USN, until June 2016.The Associated Press has relinquished its copyright to the photograph, placing it in the public domain.

So, the photo of two  American flags raised on top of Mount Suribachi, on February 23, 1945,  actually of the second flag-raising, became iconic and won Pulitzer prize too.  The man, the photographer Joseph John Rosenthal (1911 – 2006) was an American photographer, and his click became one of the best-known photographs of the war,  replicated as the United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

Rosenthal reportedly piled stones and a sandbag so he had something on which to stand, as he was only 5 feet and 5 inches (1.65 m) tall. He set his camera for a lens setting between f/8 and f/11 and the shutter speed at 1/400th second. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw six Marines start to raise the second flag. He swung his camera around toward the action and pushed the shutter. Three feet to his right, Sgt. Genaust captured the flag-raising from nearly the same angle using color motion picture film. To make sure he had a worthwhile photo to send to the AP, Rosenthal took another black and white photograph showing four of the second flag-raisers steadying the flagstaff and waiting for the bottom of the pipe to be more secured with rocks; and afterwards a rope. When that was done, Rosenthal gathered a group of sixteen Marines and two Navy corpsmen around the base of the flagstaff for a posed shot (called the "Gung Ho" photo) which included First Lieutenant Harold Schrier, the only officer on the summit, who had volunteered to take the 40-man patrol up Mount Suribachi that morning to seize and occupy the crest and raise the battalion's flag.

The International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York displays the camera used by Rosenthal to take the photograph. The 2006 Hollywood film ‘Flags of Our Fathers’, directed by Clint Eastwood, tells the stories of the American flag raisers who raised the famous flag on Mount Suribachi and depicts Rosenthal's involvement in the events that led up to his taking the iconic flag raising photograph. Rosenthal was portrayed by actor Ned Eisenberg in the film.

Interesting !  - does anyone care about the photographs that we take !! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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