Joe Rosenthal

By Alex Hellar

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,

Photo by Joe Rosenthal

Big image
"It has been called the greatest photograph of all time. It may well be the most widely reproduced. It served as the symbol for the Seventh War Loan Drive, for which it was plastered on 3.5 million posters. It was used on a postage stamp and on the cover of countless magazines and newspapers. It served as the model for the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., a symbol forever of the valor and sacrifices of the U.S. Marines."

-Mitchell Landsberg.

"What I see behind the photo is what it took to get up to those heights - the kind of devotion to their country that those young men had, and the sacrifices they made... I take some gratification in being a little part of what the U.S. stands for."

-Joe Rosenthal, on his photo "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima"

Early life

Joe Rosenthal was born in Washington in 1911 and died in 2006. He was born to a pair of Jewish Russian immigrants with four brothers. He was alive during the great depression and took up photography in that time as a hobby. With a basic high school education to his name, he became a photographer/reporter for the San Francisco news.

His Photos

Mitchell Landsberg won his Pulitzer Prize, as well as his claim to fame, with a single photo. Before then, as a newspaper photographer, he focused on crowds and movement. All of his photos were in black in white, this was not a stylistic choice but a practical one. “Color” photography existed at the time of his famous photo, but black and white was cheaper, lighter and faster. As “Color” photos meant black, white, and burgundy this was not really that much of an issue. He took photos at high shutter speeds to freeze motion and he stood on top of things to get better shots because he was short.

The War, and The Photo

After being rejected as a War Photographer due to his poor eyesight, Joe went to the University of San Francisco and joined the Associated Press. After a few weeks of photos a fellow photographer told him about the flag raising. The Pulitzer Prize winner was shot at a shutter speed of 1/400th of a second somewhere between f8 and f11. I really appreciate Joe and his fellow war photographers, someone had to bring the news home and seeing is believing. Any photographer willing to walk into a war zone is a great photographer in my book.