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Unknown Photographer

Clouds of smoke billow from an Allied merchantman hit by Axis bombing in an Algerian harbor. Men fight flames as though there is no danger of exploding munitions and gasoline., March 1943
Vintage wire photograph with applied pigment on paper
6 3/8 x 8 3/16 in. (16.19 x 20.8 cm)

Creation Place: Africa
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted Gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, and Daniel Mattis, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.21.18

Allied ship hit by Axis bombers: great clouds of smoke billow from the gut of an Allied merchantman hit by Axis bombing planes as it lay in an Algerian harbor. The men aboard ship fight the flames, as though no danger lurked from possible exploding munitions and gasoline as yet unloaded. The gallant ships which make up the convoys bringing supplies to Allied fighters in Africa face constant fire and bombing from Nazi planes while at sea and in port, March 1943.

Sheet: 7 x 8 7/8

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 3/8 x 8 3/16 in. (16.19 x 20.8 cm)

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