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6 Things to Know About Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima

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Seventy-one years ago today, photographer Joe Rosenthal was in the right place at the right time. Just as five Marines and one Navy sailor hoisted an American flag at the summit of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, an island southeast of Japan, Rosenthal raised his Speed Graphic camera and snapped one of the most iconic pictures of all time. Here’s what you need to know about his Pulitzer Prize-winning photo.

1. THE PHOTO ACTUALLY CAPTURED THE SECOND FLAG-RAISING OF THE DAY.

Before Rosenthal took his picture, fellow photographer Sgt. Louis Lowery had been snapping pictures of the first flag raising for Leatherneck magazine.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Afterward, he decided to go back down the mountain to retrieve different equipment. On the way, he encountered Rosenthal climbing up. Lowery warned Rosenthal that he had missed the flag raising, but Rosenthal decided to go up and grab a few pictures anyway. When he got to the top, he discovered that the Marines had been ordered to replace the flag with a larger one—and that flag-raising is the one that was immortalized in Rosenthal’s picture.

2. SADLY, HALF OF THE SOLDIERS IN THE PICTURE WERE KILLED IN ACTION NOT LONG AFTER THE PHOTO WAS TAKEN.

Harlon Block, age 20, and Michael Strank, age 25, were both killed on March 1. Franklin Sousley, age 19, was shot on March 21. By the time Iwo Jima was secured, there were three surviving soldiers from the group: Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, and Navy hospital corpsman John Bradley.

3. DESPITE MANY ARGUMENTS TO THE CONTRARY, THE PHOTO WASN'T STAGED.

The controversy stems from a moment of confusion—you see, Rosenthal wasn’t entirely sure that he had captured the flag raising moment, so afterward, he asked the group of men to pose for a picture beneath the flying stars and stripes. He referred to this as the “Gung Ho” picture. When people saw the picture in the newspapers and congratulated him, Rosenthal assumed the papers had picked up the “Gung Ho” shot, and freely said that he had posed the soldiers for the photo. It wasn’t until later that he realized which photo had become a national sensation. He spent the rest of his life denying that he had staged the flag-raising shot.

4. A FELLOW JOURNALIST WAS SHOOTING FOOTAGE WHILE ROSENTHAL WAS TAKING PICTURES.

You can see some of his footage at the end of this video:

5. IT INSPIRED AMERICANS TO BUY WAR BONDS.

The photo was used in 3.5 million posters for the Seventh War Loan Drive, and the three surviving soldiers were sent on tour to encourage Americans to buy war bonds. It worked—thanks to the patriotism and emotion exuding from the photograph, war bond sales from the Seventh War Loan Drive totaled $26.3 billion, nearly double the original goal.

6. BOTH OF THE FLAGS WERE PRESERVED AND NOW LIVE AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE MARINE CORPS.

Both of the flags raised at the summit of Mount Suribachi eventually found their way home and are now displayed on a rotating basis at the Triangle, Virginia, museum. The museum calls them “perhaps the most important artifacts in the care of the National Museum of the Marine Corps.”

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The Strange Reason Why It's Illegal to Take Nighttime Photos of the Eiffel Tower
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The Eiffel Tower is one of the most-photographed landmarks on Earth, but if photographers aren't careful, snapping a picture of the Parisian tower at the wrong hour and sharing it in the wrong context could get them in legal trouble. As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the famous monument is partially protected under European copyright law.

In Europe, copyrights for structures like the Eiffel Tower expire 70 years after the creator's death. Gustave Eiffel died in 1923, which means the tower itself has been public domain since 1993. Tourists and professional photographers alike are free to publish and sell pictures of the tower taken during the day, but its copyright status gets a little more complicated after sundown.

The Eiffel Tower today is more than just the iron structure that was erected in the late 19th century: In 1985, it was outfitted with a nighttime lighting system consisting of hundreds of projectors, a beacon, and tens of thousands of light bulbs that twinkle every hour on the hour. The dazzling light show was designed by Pierre Bideau, and because the artist is alive, the copyright is still recognized and will remain so for at least several decades.

That being said, taking a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower after dark and sharing it on Instagram won't earn you a visit from Interpol. The law mainly applies to photographers taking pictures for commercial gain. To make sure any pictures you take of the illuminated tower fall within the law, you can contact the site's operating company to request publishing permission and pay for rights. Or you can wait until the sun comes up to snap as many perfectly legal images of the Parisian icon as you please.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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Scientists Share the Most Ridiculous Stock Photos of Their Jobs on Twitter
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If you picture a scientist as a guy in a white lab coat who spends all day glaring at vials, you can blame popular media. A quick image search of the word scientist brings up dozens of stock photos that fit this stereotype. And when photos do diverge from the norm, things start to get weird. Now real-life scientists are sharing some of these bizarre depictions on Twitter using the hashtag #badstockphotosofmyjob.

Some stock photos contain errors that would go unnoticed by most members of the public. But show a professional a model posing with a beaker of dyed water, or a backwards double-helix, and they might have something to say.

Despite all the lab gear, safety rules are apparently broken all the time in stock photo world. On rare occasions fake scientists ditch the lab coats altogether for lingerie—or nothing at all.

Even more puzzling scientist stock photo trends include injecting plants with mysterious liquid and holding stethoscopes up to inanimate objects.

Fortunately, scientists from the real world are much better at their jobs than scientists in stock photos make them out to be. To get a clearer picture of how a scientist's job differs from the stereotype, check out some behind-the-scenes accounts of their work in the field.

[h/t IFL Science]

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