I had the opportunity to meet a fellow by the name of Nick Orzio a couple of years ago who was a photographer assigned to cover General MacArthur, near the end of WW2 and during the occupation of Japan until about 1947. He covered the war crimes trials of Tojo and others. He spent a lot of time touring the country and took a large number of photographs of the people trying to rebuild their lives and their country. He somehow obtained the photographs back from the army and they are now touring parts of the country on exhibit. They are fascinating.

It is very difficult to show the incredible destruction of buildings and life and not make it an anti war statement. However just the war is, the aftermath is it's own statement.

As for the so called fakes of MT Surabachi, don't forget that the photographers job was not to take a documentary. The entire movie and still photography division was essentially to make propaganda for consumption at home. Many of the stills were used in Stars and Stripes Magazine to boost morale in a war that the US and Allies were not initially winning, and especially against the Japanese, was very bloody.

The definitive photograph or the Gulf War I believe was the one of the burned up Iraqi solder half sticking out of the tank. Viet Nam, was the naked girl running and covered in Napalm. As well the one mentioned about the captured double agent shot in the head.

As for the photographers point of view, any shot taken during a war, that shows what human beings are capable of pro and con, is always going to be a mesmerizing and haunting image. Any soldier will tell you that was is hell.


Michael McBlane