Sorry, ran out of room in the subject line.
What war photograph(s) have had the most impact on you?
I can think of several, but here are a few (in no particular order):
1. The pictures of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb.
2. The dead on the battlefield at Gettysburg.
3. The little Vietnamese girl running down the street screaming.
4. The Vietnamese man being executed in the street.
5. The chinese man holding up an entire line of tanks in the aftermath of Tienamen (sp?) Square.
6. One of the pictures of no-mans-land after Verdun (I have a specific one in mind but there are many and I'm sure you get the image).
There were two that immediately come to mind.
The first was an image of a completely nude ... and wet... sailor manning a machine gun in the blister of a PBY (The central gun emplacemant of a Patrol Bomber - Catalina) in the South Pacific, during the second world war. This photograph caused a furor - someone jumped to the conclusion that the sailor had shed his clothes because of the heat. The truth was something different.
The sailor had stripped to dive in and rescue a downed Airman after the PBY had landed off shore from an island - within range of Japanese machine guns, and lord knows what else. The Airman had been hauled on board, and the rescuing sailor had moved to his gun to return the Japanese fire without bothering to get dressed - while the aircraft began its takeoff run.
The second was considerably more grim. It was a photograph of a Russian Machine Gun nest during the Finnish-Soviet "Winter War" of 1939. The entire crew was in place - frozen to death, just about in the positions they would have held in combat. That bore stark testimony to the *harsh* Finnish weather and the total lack of intelligent preparedness on the part of the Russian Army - having sent their troops into battle during the worst winter in 50 years, clad only in summer uniforms.
Ed, the photograph and photographer your mention was spotlighted in the December 2002 issue of B&W magazine. His name is Horace Bristol, born 1908 and I believe still alive. He was friends and a contemporary of Adams, Weston, Lange and Cunningham. Bristol waa also a friend of John Steinbeck's and asked Steinbeck to help his with a project documenting the dispossed from the depression era south. Steinbeck went on the fictionalize the project as the Grapes of Wrath, Bristol's images were used as a guide for casting the film version as well as presented in multi page spreads in Life magazine.
The war image I remember the most is by Eugene Smith of the marines holding a dying infant that had ben pulled from a cave on Saipan and the image of the instant the battleship Arizona exploded at Pearl Harbor. Two more that I always remeber that demonstrate the brutality of totalitarian states is an image of an Australian pilot about to be beheaded by a Japanese officer and a very famous image of concentration camp survivors lined up behind the barbed wire fence string ghost like into the camera. I believe that image was by Eisenstadt but please correct me if any one else knows of the image.
The WW2 ones have the most impact because my father was a Navy veteran of that war and he had quite a number of history books such as the Life History of WW2 in pictures that was first published in 1949. That book was really my first exposure to B&W photography.
Boy oh boy, I really apologize for not proofing the previous post. So much to say, and so little time before its back to work.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Jim68134 @ Mar 19 2003, 11:41 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> ... and the image of the instant the battleship Arizona exploded at Pearl Harbor. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
I don't recall ever seeing a picture of this. The only Arizona picture that sticks in my mind is the one of it listing hard to port and burning.
The explosion picture that I do remember, that you just brought to mind, is the one of the USS Shaw exploding. The explosion was massive and the picture is caught at the height of the explosion with a palm frond framing the explosion from the top. An incredible picture.
Let's see if I can get it attached here....
Edit: Ok, it worked (if it is a little big). I don't have the original photographer but this picture is available electronically through the National Archives.