Monday, 24 October 2011

The Marlboro Marine

Author: Luis Sinco
Picture date: November 10, 2004

The picture shows a marine smoking a cigarette after the siege of Fallouja, and contemplating a sunrise. He is covered in a mix of blood, camouflage paint, and dirt. At the first meeting with Mr. Sinco, marine only said:
If you want to write something, tell Marlboro I’m down to four packs, and I’m here in Fallujah till who knows when. Maybe they can send some. And they can bring down the price a bit.
Photographer was not even sure he wants to send this photo to the newspaper, he thought the editors would prefer more pictures of previous battle and siege. On the following day, he found out that the picture was published on the covers of 150 newspapers around the world. Mr. Sinco described the photograph by saying:
His expression caught my eye. To me, it said: terrified, exhausted, and glad just to be alive. I recognized that look because that's how I felt too.
With time, the photo became a symbol of Iraq war, this hopelessness seen in marine's face was present in hearts of Americans. Photographer found his subject, his name is James Blake Miller who was not as successful as the photo of him. After the war, he started to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, separated from his wife and family, and is unable to discuss certain things that happened in Fallujah.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Walk to Paradise Garden

Author:  W. Eugene Smith
Picture date: 1946
Publish date: 1955, "The Family of Man" exhibition in Museum of Modern Art

W. Eugene Smith was well-known war correspondent, famous for his brutal and sincere War World II photographs. His war wounds he gained after mortar strike on Okinawa, cost him two long years of hospitalization and plastic surgery. It was even not sure he would be able to return to photography. 

Then one day, he took his two children on a walk to a forest. Pat, older brother, took his sister, Juanita, by hand and lead her to show her something he discovered. Despite his sudden attack of pain, Mr. Smith was able to shot this picture, not perfect and unimportant to the world, but somehow beautiful. He described this moment in these words:

While I followed my children into the undergrowth and the group of taller trees – how they were delighted at every little discovery! – and observed them, I suddenly realized that at this moment, in spite of everything, in spite of all the wars and all I had gone through that day, I wanted to sing a sonnet to life and to the courage to go on living it….

Unfortunately, the photo had to wait 9 years to be published. Mr. Smith decided to submit it to Edward Steichen's famous Family of Man exhibition at Museum of Modern Art. Unexpectedly, the photo gained world recognition, became a finalist, and is considered iconic among all family photographs.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Behind the Gare St. Lazare

Author: Henri Cartier-Bresson
Picture date: 1932

This picture depicts one of those fleeting, everyday moments in life. The author,   Henri Cartier-Bresson, became famous because of his street art and capturing these moments which are also called the Decisive Moments. The photo is one of his most iconic works, showing a man taking a leap into the water when all his aids to avoid getting wet ended.

Cartier-Bresson said his picture was not fully intended and planned:
There was a plank fence around some repairs behind the Gare St. Lazare and I was peeking through the space with my camera at my eye. This is what I saw. The space between the planks was not entirely wide enough for my lens, which is the reason the picture is cut off on the left. 

Once again, the author found himself in the right place and in the right moment. This image proves that everyday moments may not be meaningless when to think of them. And also, we can find beauty in all those fleeting moments.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Raising a flag over the Reichstag


Author: Yevgeny Khaldei
Picture date: 2 May 1945
Publish date: 15 May 1945, Ogonyok magazine.

This photograph depicts a historic moment where Soviet soldiers are raising the flag of the Soviet Union on the German Reichstag building. The photograph became instantly popular, and became on of the most symbolic photographs of the World War II. It gained very wide recognition and was printed by newspapers all over the world. The German Reichstag building was erected in 1894 and it was magnificent for its time. Even though it was not used for military purposes after the fire since 1933, it was still a symbol of the enemy of the Red Army.

Photograph was taken on the last day of the Battle of Berlin, the final major offensive of the European theatre of World War II. Many photographers took photos of flags on the roof, but it was Khaldei's image that became the most successful and recognized. Identity of the photographer was not unknown until the fall of the Soviet Union. The photo itself is just a reconstruction of the actual moment that happened earlier but had been missed by the camera.