Iwo Jima, V-J Day… and Toddlers

October 1, 2006 at 7:41 pm 8 comments

I read an article a while back (for the life of me, I can’t remember from what magazine and 30 minutes of web searching has shed no light) that discussed the near misses with iconic photographs.  In other words, it talked about the photographers who were at a slightly different angle or who were just a second too late with their shot.  Meanwhile, another photographer with the right combination ended up with all the glory.  The first example was the raising of the 2nd flag at Iwo Jima.  The photograph that is instilled in our brains was taken by Joe Rosenthal:

Rosenthal wasn’t alone on the mountain.  Another photographer, Bob Campbell, was in a different spot and caught the following shot.  The first and smaller flag is being pulled down in the foreground (the original flag was deemed too small to be seen).  Meanwhile the more famous flag is being raised in the background.  Campbell’s shot obviously did not have the same impact as Rosenthal’s.

Another example the article discussed was Alfred “Eisie” Eisenstaedt’s  V-J Day Kiss– the picture of the sailor and the nurse kissing in Times Square.  Another photographer caught the exact same pair kissing– but it was at a different moment.  The nurse’s back didn’t quite have the tell-tale arch in it and as a result, the photograph just didn’t have the same resonance as Eisenstaedt’s.

Well, it turns out the intricacies of timing and angles aren’t exclusive to iconic war images.  It seems to apply to toddlers as well.  Today I joined the Jones Family for an afternoon at Pandapas Pond.  At one point Ann snapped this picture of her two children:

She was unfamiliar with my camera, fumbled around and couldn’t tell if she actually took a picture.  I stepped in to save the day.  Armed with my knowledgeable prowess of the Gateway camera, I snapped this lovely dud:

In Ann’s picture, the kids are smiling.  You can see the water and the trees in the background.  Some sunrays are trickling down, complimenting the flaxen hair of the young subjects.  My picture…. just awful. 

So yeah, timing and angles– definitely important.

P.S.  All my better-timed Pandapas Pond pictures (and a larger copy of Ann’s picture) are available on my website.

Entry filed under: Ann, Pandapas Pond, Penn, WWII.

Fall Ode to Virginia Creeper Toilet Stall Deadlock

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. chriggy  |  October 2, 2006 at 2:16 am

    And digital cameras certainly don’t help. As much as I like digitial cameras, the one thing I help is the delay. As much as I love digital cams, The delay drives me nuts, and has caused me to miss many shots.

  • 2. Christina  |  October 2, 2006 at 4:39 am

    I was looking through a lot of my old pictures with Rainer the other day and he made the comment that I used to be a really bad at taking photos and have improved a lot, so maybe it’s also due to experience as well.

    Actually, looking back over the photos again, I think the second Iwo Jima photo is actually more interesting than the famous one. You can see the men’s faces and get more of an idea of their feelings.

  • 3. tgaw  |  October 2, 2006 at 8:39 am

    Heh. I had thought the delay was just a product of my digital camera, I didn’t realize it was a widespread feature. I should probably stop advising people when I hand the camera over, “It doesn’t take right away so wait after you push the button.”

    I get thwarted by the camera warming up too— a lot of times, Jimmie or Henry are admiring an overlook looking very noble and by the time I get the camera ready to go, they are on to other activities… like sniffing each other’s butts.

  • 4. tgaw  |  October 2, 2006 at 8:42 am

    I found the second picture quite interesting as well. But symbollically, I can see why it did not catch on as the main focus is soldiers taking a flag down.

    On a side note, I think Rosenthal’s pictures were out within an hour and a half of being taken. You’ll want to check me on the exact timing, but whatever it was— his pictures got out extremely fast for that era.

  • 5. Stacy  |  October 2, 2006 at 11:09 am

    This isn’t quite the same thing, but the other day I picked up a old batch of printed photos that was on top of an unpacked box from my move. It was the results of a disposable camera from my business trip to Atlanta c.2002 and I was absolutely shocked at the awful composition–bad or no lighting, my hand in an upper corner, no discernible subject (what was I trying to get in that vacant lot downtown?), objects in the foreground obscuring the subject … just terrible.

    But then there’s one that saves all the rest. It’s a glass building reflecting some clouds with the sun behind them to make the outline glow. It’s gorgeous. I guess most of all that just reminds me how in the era of film we’d often miss the best shots and come away with 3/4 of a roll of crap just because there wasn’t the freedom to push the button any and every time you thought you might have a nice shot…

  • 6. Great Smokey Mountains: Quick Recap « TGAW  |  October 8, 2006 at 11:46 pm

    […] In my post last week I talked the importance of timing in pictures.  That message will be 100% reinforced by our Smokey pictures.  At one point, I was about to take a picture of a splendid view, but found myself out of batteries.  No problem– I had two in my pocket.  BUT– by the time I switched out the batteries and pulled the camera up again, fog already completely obscured the view.  Once we get all our pictures coordinated, Mike and I should have some good ones demonstrating the huge difference just a couple of seconds make way up on top of Ole Smokey. […]

  • 7. imparare  |  April 15, 2007 at 1:10 am

    Interesting comments.. 😀

  • 8. Cascades: One Week Apart « TGAW  |  March 13, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    […] February 25, 2007 I have shared photos of different hiking sites during different seasons. I’ve shared photos of my work area four years apart and even a bathroom exit four years apart. Now, I present you with a more modest time frame (though not as modest as toddlers two seconds apart). […]


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