Posts Tagged ‘ b&w photo ’

The Iwo Jima Flag Raising

“- where uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, speaking on the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Today, February 23, 2010, marks the 65th anniversary of the raising of the United States flag on the Island of Iwo Jima. This video was taken from the documentary movie “To the Shores of Iwo Jima”. This is authentic footage that was photographed by US Navy and Marine Corps personnel during the actual battle. The motion has been slowed down and the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph, “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima”  superimposed at nearly the instant it was taken.

However, Rosenthal’s photograph was taken of a second flag raising, not the first one. Another photographer, Louis R. Lowrey took an equally iconic photograph of the first flag raising, but the Lowrey photograph got delayed in its processing. Then, when the Rosenthal photograph was released to the public, the Marine Corps got several names transposed from the first flag detail to the second one which was used as the caption in the newspapers. This mistake took several years and an official investigation to get corrected. Not much was known of the first flag raising for many years. Today, both flag raising details and both photographs are given equal credit by the Marine Corps and academic historians. In the right side of the movie frame, men from the first flag detail can be seen as well as a brief glimpse of the first flag’s stanchion.

The movie footage was photographed by Marine Corps Sergeant William H. “Bill” Genaust.  On March 4th, 1945, Sergeant Genaust was killed (on Iwo Jima) when he entered a darkened cave and was shot to death by Japanese soldiers. He had volunteered to use his camera light so that he could light the way for other marines entering the cave when he was killed. The cave mouth was covered over by bulldozing equipment, and his body has never been recovered.

The Rosenthal photograph became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and ultimately came to be regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time. To the Marine Corps, it is the most iconic symbol of their sacrifice and dedication in what is perhaps the Corp’s most formidable battle they have ever engaged in.

The necessity of taking Iwo Jima has always been controversial. However, Imperial Japan spent several years heavily fortifying the island before any US attack was possible, so they saw some significant importance to the island long before Allied planners did. These extensive and well-planned fortifications were completely missed by Allied Intelligence estimates. The Japanese defended the island with their best troops under the command of perhaps their best field commander, Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi. He was aided by the equally capable Colonel Baron Takeichi Nishi. Opposing them was a force of the most seasoned US Navy and Marine Corps forces.

Both men had spent significant time in the United States and understood the American psyche. In fact, Kuribayashi’s personal sidearm was an ornate US M-1911 caliber 45 pistol, the same sidearm carried by US forces. It had been given to him by the US Cavalry Regiment he had been assigned to during an officer exchange program in the 1920s. Nishi had competed in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games and could count several American movie stars as personal friends.

Although it was impossible for Kuribayashi and his forces to repel and win the inevitable battle, he succeeded in his strategy of inflicting more losses upon his enemy than were inflicted on him. The severity of the US losses dispelled any notion among Allied commanders of what an invasion of Japan would cost. It was a main factor in the decision to use the atomic bombs to end the war.

It is now believed that as many as 3,000 Japanese soldiers survived the battle, hiding out in the tunnel networks by day, foraging for food and supplies at night. The last surrender of Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima occurred in 1951.

The importance of the battle to US Marines today is demonstrated in pilgrimages made to the island, and specifically the summit of Suribachi. Marines will often leave dog tags, rank insignia, or other tokens at the monuments in homage.

During this one-month-long battle, 27 U.S. military personnel were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions, 14 of them posthumously. Of the 27 medals awarded, 23 were presented to Marines and four were presented to United States Navy sailors; this is 28% of the 82 Medals of Honor awarded to Marines in the entirety of World War II.

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In Morris County: New Flint Hills Landscape

In Morris County, 7x17 Contact Print

It was a busy Fall but I managed to squeeze one photo outing into the schedule. I had photographed this location before with the 8×10, but from that photo, I knew this scene was perfect for the 7×17. Not much had changed here in four years. Fortunately, the weather was good for this one day. Loaded up the trusty 7×17 into the trusty Ford Ranger pickup and off we went. The location is a few miles northeast of Strong City, Kansas.

New Showing and New Video

Once again, its been a while since I made a blog entry. Its not that I’m lazy, which is always debatable. It more that I’ve been busy with a great many things.

However, today, I hung a small showing of my prints at the Lawrence Bank, located at 9th and New Hampshire in Lawrence, Ks.  Included in the show is the 20×40 inch Flint Hills triptych, “Road CR-2, Greenwood County”. Please stop by and view if you can.

Back in December, we purchased a Canon HV30 high definition video camera. I had been having yearnings to get a film movie camera, but the production costs really rack up fast, and they wind up being digital videos anyway.  The HV30 is a wonderful little camera, with capability far in excess of its diminuative size. Thus, with a few video skills under my belt, and with the aid of the editing software, I’ve created a small self-promotion video (which includes authentic Flint Hills wind in the sound track). Here it is:

Two Black & White Still Lifes

Thistle 16

Thistle 16

One thing I truly love about large format photography is doing still lifes. I It may look simple but I’ve found still lifes to be hard work. Everything has to be perfect and its always a challenge to get there.

Thistle 16 was taken on Ilford FP4+ film, 4×5 sheet. I developed the negative in Pyrocat-HD developer using the extreme minimal agitation technique. My “studio” was set up in the backyard, draping a spare dark cloth over the grill for the background. The sun was high and to the right rear.

Rose 2006

Rose 2006

Rose 2006 was done indoors on the dining room table, natural light, using Polaroid Type 55 positive/negative film.

Hope you enjoy!

A Black and White Landscape from Western Kansas

Monument Rocks #2

Monument Rocks #2

Monument Rocks, Gove County, Kansas. This is what black and white photography is all about. Taking the seemingly bland and lifeless and transforming it into an abstraction of tone and texture. This was taken in full afternoon summer sun. The shadow in the lower parts is from the adjacent rock formations.

This negative is what sold me on the new Kodak Tmax 400 film. Contrast range on the subject was extreme yet the main subject is very flat. Developed in Pyrocat HD with extreme minimal agitation. The negative came out very dense requiring split grade printing.

An 11×14 print of Monument Rocks #2 will be on display at the Emporia Artist Walk along with my Kansas Flint Hill landscapes.

Emporia Artist Walk & Flint Hills Landscapes

I will be located in the Pyramid Pizza building, 11 East 6th, downtown Emporia. The Emporia Artist Walk is Saturday, 18 April from 10 am to 4 pm.

With me at Pyramid Pizza will be Rachel Ferrara, a finely talented up-and-coming young photographer. Rachel is Fine Arts student at Emporia State University majoring in photography. I made this video of her senior project show last January.

I finished mounting the big Flint Hills prints. Quite the project to get that big triptych mounted. The final matted size is 40×20 inches. My Emporia  Artist Walk display will feature Black & White Flint Hills landscapes from Chase County, Greenwood County, Wabaunsee County, and Geary County.

Hope to see you at the Artist Walk.

On Road CR-2, Greenwood County

On Road CR-2, Greenwood County

Near Texaco Hill, Chase County

Near Texaco Hill, Chase County

Emporia Artist Walk

Moving into the final countdown for the Emporia Artist Walk. The event takes place on Saturday, 18 April from 10 am to 4 pm, in downtown Emporia.

I’ve been printing more Flint Hills diptychs today. I’ve got to say, those 11×14 prints really make me feel like I’m back in the Hills. Wish I could print them on 20×24. Maybe someday!

Hope you make it to the Artist Walk.