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Colonel General Alfred Jodl, German Chief of Staff, signs Germany’s unconditional surrender at Allied Headquarters, Reims, France, May 7, 1945
Vintage wire photograph on paper

Creation Place: Europe, American
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2020.1.94

Jodl signs Germany’s unconditional surrender—Colonel General Alfred Jodl, German Chief of Staff (center), signs Germany’s unconditional surrender at Allied Headquarters, Reims, France, May 7, 1945. Seated at left is his personal aide, Major General Wilhelm Oxenius. Seated right is General Admiral Hans G. von Friedeburg, Commander in Chief of the German Navy. The man standing is not identified.

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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