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Unknown Photographer

Americans now hold the Japanese base of Tarawa Island in the Gilberts. U.S. Marine PFC R. F. West of Tucson, Arizona inspects a Japanese pillbox., November 1943
Vintage wire photograph on paper
8 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (21.27 x 16.83 cm)

Creation Place: Oceania
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis, Judith Hochberg, and Daniel Mattis, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.21.740

Americans now hold the former Japanese base of Tarawa Island in the Gilberts. But we paid a heavy price wrestling the Central Pacific outpost from the enemy. After the carnage, U.S. Marine PFC R. F. West (left) of Tucson, Arizona inspects an armored Japanese pillbox. A pair of dead Japanese lie in a bomb crater outside the pillbox in the foreground, November 1943.

Sheet: 8 7/8 x 7

Wire photographs were originally transmitted over phonelines, then later, by satellite. They were first used in the early 1920s. Associated Press became a leader with this. After pigment touch-ups, etc., the print is put into a drum (like a drum scanner). The image gets converted into audio tones that are transmitted. The tones are received and beamed onto photo-sensitive paper. Wire photographs are copies without originals---they are hybrid, transmitted objects. (Britt Salvesen, Curator and Department Head, Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 30-31, 2022)

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  • Image Dimensions: 8 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (21.27 x 16.83 cm)

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