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A. J. Clarke



A tremendous geyser arises beside a Japanese cargo ship as U.S. Navy rockets explode in near hits, October 1945
Vintage ferrotyped gelatin silver print on paper
9 1/2 x 7 5/8 in. (24.13 x 19.37 cm)

Creation Place: Asia
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.22.14

Commentary
Chief Specialist (Photographer) A.J. Clarke, of Richmond, Virginia. A tremendous geyser arises beside a Japanese cargo ship as U.S. Navy rockets explode in near hits, October, 1945. Two photographs of rocket attacks made on Japanese shipping near the enemy homeland have been added to the hundred-odd honored as the cream of hundreds of thousands of photographs made by Navy, Coast Guard and Marine photographers during World War II. Captain Edward J. Steichen, USNR, head of Navy Combat Photographers and the Navy’s Photographic Institute, chose these photographs because of the technical obstacles surmounted. They were made with aerial cameras on North American Mitchell bombers based on Okinawa, during night patrol of enemy shipping lanes between Korea and Japan. Split-second timing was demanded, because ‘flash-bombs’ of tremendous luminosity but short duration were used to supply light. These flash-bombs had to be dropped at an exact interval after the launching of the rockets. Following this, the camera had to be wound and aimed. The cooperation of the pilot was vital to the success of photographing the attack - the plane had to be banked to just the right degree in order to bring the camera to bear on the target area. The odds against all these factors combining favorably were so high that only two photographs were made—but both were honored. The project was carried out by a Special Photographic unit under command of Lieutenant Commander Frederick Y. Smith, USNR, of Hollywood, California.

Dimensions
Sheet: 10 x 8 3/16

Technique
Ferrotyped prints are processed in such a way that they are shiny. The print has a sensitive surface, usually thinner, because it was put through a press while still wet.

Materials
Ferrotyped prints have a sensitive surface, usually shiny and thinner, because they are put through a press while still wet. Ferrotyping makes the surface of the photograph smoother. Light does not scatter as much on a smoother surface, so this increases contrast. That makes ferrotyped images better for press photography.

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Dimensions
  • Image Dimensions: 9 1/2 x 7 5/8 in. (24.13 x 19.37 cm)

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