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United States Navy Photographer

British and Australian prisoners of war coming aboard the USS Sealion. The American submarine sank the Rakuyo Maru, which was taking the prisoners to Japan., 1944
Vintage sound photograph on paper
6 1/16 x 7 13/16 in. (15.4 x 19.84 cm)

Creation Place: Asia, American
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted Gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, and Daniel Mattis, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.21.526

Liberated By U.S. Sub’s Torpedoes: Oil-soaked British and Australian soldiers who had been held prisoners of war by the Japanese since the fall of Singapore are shown coming aboard the USS Sealion. The American submarine sank the Rakuyo Maru, in which the prisoners were being taken to Japan from the straits settlement. Four American submarines participated in the rescue, in which 159 captives were picked out of the waters of the China Sea. The subs, aided by a fifth, the USS Growler, sank ten ships of the Japanese convoy in the action, which Admiral Nimitz called “one of the most sensational stories of the war”, 1944.

Sheet: 6 9/16 x 8 3/8

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: 6 1/16 x 7 13/16 in. (15.4 x 19.84 cm)

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