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Raising the flag on Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945 (printed 1968)
Wire photograph on paper

Creation Place: Asia, American
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2020.1.110

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945. NB: this particular print of Joe Rosenthal’s icon was issued by the Associated Press on the occasion of Iwo Jima’s formal reversion to Japanese rule in 1968. The caption on the verso reads: “The Stars and Stripes only in bronze today over Iwo Jima which was captured by U.S. Marines in one of the bitterest battles against Japan in 1945, and is due to revert to Japanese rule…. Historic scene photographed by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal as U.S. Marines raise the American flag.”

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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