Iwo Jima

In watching this brief color film of the Iwo Jima flag raising by U.S. Marines, we realize that the famous photograph is not a photograph but one frame of a motion picture. Amazing how a single instant of changing time, which comes in the midst of a rapid flow of many instants, and which, when seen as part of that flow, is hardly noticeable, can, taken by itself, seem like an eternal, archetypal moment.

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A reader writes:

Hi, others will have written you on this but the photo does not appear to be taken from the film. It looks like the still photographer was standing just to the left of the film camera.

Haven’t Googled this but there must be discussions out there!

LA replies:

Interesting! I know the Iwo photo has been a subject of much discussion and I may have forgotten some of the facts I’ve read about before, such as that there was both film and stills taken at the same time.


David B. writes:

Yes, there were two (at least) photographers there. Joe Rosenthal snapped the famous flag-raising photo. The color film was shot by another man.

There was a flag raising before the famous one. The first one had a small pipe attached to the flag and didn’t show as well. There were several photos taken of the first flag which are not seen as often. You see the marines standing around.

The second flag-raising had a large pole which made it look bigger and was the one Rosenthal snapped at the exact right moment. It was NOT staged.

However, cynics and leftists of a certain bent, have always claimed that the Iwo Jima flag-raising photo is a “fake.” Your co-panelist at the Western Civilization conference, Roger McGrath, wrote a piece in Chronicles on this subject some years ago. McGrath wrote that while in high school, a fellow student who was a New York City native claimed that it was staged. This person, McGrath wrote, mocked all of our heroes, especially the Iwo Jima flag-raising.

Here is the wikipedia article on both flag-rasings. I repeat that mocking this event has long-been a favorite theme of leftists.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 31, 2010 02:31 PM | Send

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