Subcomandante Marcos

Behind the camera: Frida Hartz
Where: Guadalupe Tepeyac, at the Selva (Rainforest) Lacandona, State of Chiapas, México
Photo Summary: Subcomandante Marcos on horse back with his iconic pipe
Picture Taken: May 1994

When the Zapatista uprising occurred in the ’90s its spokesman, media savvy, Subcomandante Marcos shot to prominence. In Mexico, he is viewed with as a celebrity, famous for his pipe and black face mask. This Marcos image became famous because of the Zapatista uprising but also by Western youth who latched onto the revolutionary spirit much the same way Che’s image became the symbol of the Cuban revolution. Frida Hartz took this image while covering a gathering of Left-wing leaders of the Ejército Zapatísta de Liberación Nacional (EZLN). She took this picture as the EZLN brass and soldiers were marching into camp.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos


Flag of the EZLN

Flag of the EZLN


Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos is the spokesperson for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). He is famous for his pipe and for always covering his face with a black mask. Even the Indian peasants who make up the support base of the Zapatista movement say they haven’t seen him unmasked. Marcos is known for his use of media and technology and many have called him the new wave of revolutionaries.

While Marcos denies it, the Mexican government believes Marcos to be Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente who was born June 19, 1957, in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Rafael graduated from Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) in Mexico City and then received a masters’ degree in philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), he then disappeared. His family says they have no idea what happened to him but the Mexican government says that he joined or founded the Zapatista movement. From 1992 through 2006 Marcos has been very busy putting his beliefs down on paper and has wrote more than 200 essays and stories while also publishing 21 books, including Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings.

Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Founded on November 17, 1983, The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) is an armed revolutionary group based in one of the poorest states of Mexico, Chiapas. While they have some support in urban areas and around the world most of their base are the indigenous people of Mexico. The name Zapatista comes from the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata who’s revolution inspired the EZLN.

The Zapatistas became a worldwide news story when on January 1, 1994, the day that the NAFTA agreement went into effect they seized control of five municipalities in Chiapas, Mexico. The Mexican army had a few clashes with the group but by January 12 of the same year the EZLN entered talks with the government and a unilateral ceasefire was declared that is still in place as of 2006. As a revolutionary group, they are very media savvy and utilize satellite telephones and the internet to garner support around the world. The movement wants the constitution to be changed to recognize the rights of the country’s indigenous Mexicans. In the wider scope of beliefs, commentators consider the Zapatistas as part of the wider alter-globalization, neo-socialist movements.

Copyright

For reproduction rights of this image please leave a comment below requesting contact info and Famous Pictures will email you the email of Frida Hartz.

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Bill and Monica

Behind the camera: Dirck Halstead
Where: Fundraiser at the Washington D.C. Sheraton Hotel
Photo Summary: Bill Clinton embracing Monica Lewinsky
Picture Taken: Taken on Oct 23, 1996 published by TIME in their August 10 1998 issue

When the Bill Clinton Monica Lewinsky story broke the news media used the same video clip, the one with Monica in a beret, endlessly repeating behind the talking heads. Hungry for more images of the two together media researchers scrambled through their archives to find another Monica and Bill needle in a photo haystack. That’s when, Time magazine photographer, Dirck Halstead entered the picture. He knew that he had seen Monica’s face and hired a researcher to pore over thousands of images until she found the image he remembered taking. Halstead had taken this picture at a 1996 fundraiser in Washington. When he showed it to TIME they sat on it for months waiting for Lewinsky story to become front page news. When Monica decided to go to the prosecutors and offer her testimony, the story was page one material and TIME made this image iconic by making it their cover shot.

Bill Monica Hug with Beret

The infamous beret shot that was overused by the 24 hour news cycle


The Scandal

In 1995, Monica Lewinsky, a graduate of Lewis & Clark College, was hired to work as an intern at the White House during Clinton’s first term. While at the White House her and Bill Clinton, while not engaging in sexual intercourse, participated in various sex acts, including getting his salad tossed! Bill Clinton perhaps realizing the danger of such a relationship puts the relationship on ice and had Monica transferred to the Pentagon to a $32,700 job as the confidential assistant, with a top-secret clearance.

Around this time Monica was asked if she had an affair with the President by lawyers of the Paula Jones case, a sexual harassment case against the President. When Monica’s friend Linda Tripp found out Lewinsky lied to the Paula Jones people she gave secret recording that Tripp had made of Monica admitting the affair to Kenneth Star. Starr used Monica Lewinsky lying under oath as a way to impeach President Bill Clinton. During the infamous trial, he was eventually forced to admit the sexual affair but was acquitted on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice during the 21-day Senate trial.

Monica on the rope lines

As Bill and Monica’s relationship began to wane Bill would see less and less of Monica. Almost to the point of stalking Monica tried to keep the flame alive by showing up at various events to get face time with the President. Later talking about her behavior she would recall that “I’m an insecure person … and I was insecure about the relationship at times and thought that he would come to forget me easily … So I made an effort. I would go early and stand in the front (at rope lines) so I could see him.” This is how sharp-eyed researchers found the “Beret” clip of Bill hugging Monica on November 6, 1996, the day after Clinton was re-elected. That clip was used endlessly by the news media to the point that the President of CNN would later apologize. Rick Kaplan, who served as President of CNN (1997-2000) was a good friend of President Clinton and has been quoted as saying it was a “big mistake” for CNN to show its exclusive footage of, “The Hug”, “Clinton probably gave 79 other hugs on that line,” said Mr. Kaplan, noting that Al Gore “also gave God knows how many hugs–not that anyone would care.”

Taking the picture

Again at a Saxophone Club fundraiser at the Washington Sheraton Monica waited at the rope line in hopes of getting some physical contact with Bill. Dirck Halstead recounts what happened next:

The circumstances behind that photograph was that in the last days of the campaign in 1996, the President was making an appearance before what they called the Saxophone Club which were young democrats. And I–at the end of the speech he went down into the crowd to work the line. When that happens, and it happens every presidential event, the photographers who had been on the floor in front of the president are brought up on the stage that he’s just left. And so our position then is on the stage, looking down on the president as he walks through the crowd. And I–somewhere in the process that night … something triggered something and I– took a picture and didn’t think anything more about it.

The reporters raced to the White House archives to discover what Clinton said on that day; he said these dubious words, “I was tired when I walked in, but I’m not tired anymore. You’ve given me a lot of energy.”

Monica





After the scandal, it was hard for Monica to get any kind of work. She was able to publish a successful book and was paid around $1,000,000 from the rights for her famous Barbara Walters interview. At 70 million viewers it was the second highest watched news program in history (The first is Oprah’s prime-time interview with Michael Jackson) but most of that went to legal fees and high cost of living now that she was a celebrity. There was a failed Jenny Craig spokesman gig and for a while, she ran an Internet handbag store and had some success as a reality TV show star. Eventually, she couldn’t take the constant media pressure and moved to the UK, graduating with a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics in 2006. Anonymous Monica friends have been quoted as saying that, “no one will hire her and she can’t get a job because of Clinton.”

In late 2012 the press broke a story about an upcoming tell-all book where supposedly Monica was getting paid $12 million but as of June 2013, there hasn’t been any more news. When Barbara Walters talked about retiring in 2014 she said that she wanted to do one more interview with Monica “I wouldn’t mind if my last one was Monica Lewinsky… she hasn’t been seen and I think she is a good person. I wouldn’t mind doing an interview with her again.”

Dirck Halstead

It’s ironic to me that after covering presidents and wars and films that probably, in the short term at least, my legacy is going to be having taken the picture of Monica Lewinski hugging President Bill Clinton.

Dirck Halstead first got his start covering the Guatemalan revolution of 1954. While working for TIME (1972-2001) his pictures graced its cover 54 times. Halstead is a big pusher of picture ownership and cites this photo as the reason that all photographers should keep ownership of their photos. As he says:

TIME have first-time rights on the photos. Once they have gone through the take, and pulled a few selects for the TIME-LIFE picture collection, the take goes to my agent, GAMMA-LIAISON. They then comb the take a second time, and pull their selects. Eventually, the take comes back to me, and resides in my light-room until I sort through it again, then send everything to the University of Texas, which is where my archives reside. Because I am busy, I only get around to sending the pictures to Texas about every 18 months … That is why ownership of your photographs is SO important. The simple fact is that no organization has the “memory of the image” that the photographer who took it has. The people who want “work for hire” from photographers, also disassociate their greatest asset from the thing that they have to sell.

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1972 Canada-Soviet Hockey Goal

Behind the camera: Frank Lennon
Where: Moscow, Russia at the Luzhniki Arena
Photo Summary: Paul Henderson being embraced by team member No 12, Yvan Cournoyer. Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak can be seen on the ice with No. 25 of the Soviet Team, Yuri Lyapkin, looking crushed to the right
Picture Taken: September 28, 1972, with 34 seconds left in the third period

The Canadians battled with the ferocity and intensity of a cornered animal
-Soviet coach Anatoli Tarasov

In the 60s and 70s the European teams, especially the Soviets, came to dominate amateur hockey, a sport that previously had been a strictly Canadian domain. In the Olympics, the Soviets could stack its team with elite players while in Canada elite players were excluded as at that time only amateur athletes could compete in the Olympics. As such Canadians disregarded these amateur defeats as empty foreign victories because everyone knew that Canada’s best wasn’t playing. The Soviets sought to break what they saw as the “Invincible Canadian” myth and so the 1972 Summit Series, officially named The Friendship Series was born. Pitting the best of both nations against each other, the summit was to be played in arenas of both countries to see who was really the number one in Hockey. It was in the final of the series that Frank Lennon snapped this iconic picture, taken just after the “goal heard around the world”.

Summit Series




Most people in the professional hockey league and most Canadians thought that the series would be an easy victory for Team Canada. The idea that high-level hockey was played outside of North America, was a concept that the hockey establishment could not comprehend. They were in for a rude awakening when on Game 1, Sept. 2, 1972, the Soviets surprised everyone by crushing the Canadians, 7-3 in Montreal. Holding on by their fingertips the Canadians were able to snatch a few wins out of the jaws of the Soviet Hockey machine but by game 5 the Soviets lead by 2. Amazingly and to the relief of Canada, the Canucks were able to come back winning the next 2 on the Soviet ice.
Game 8, the final, was held at Moscow’s Luzhniki Arena. Each team had three wins and three losses, in addition to a tie, game three resulted in a 4-4 tie. Only a win in Game Eight would deliver victory in the series. The score was 2-2 after the first period, but the Soviets pulled ahead 5-3 after the second. Things looked grim for Team Canada but in the third, they came out roaring with Phil Esposito and Yvan Cournoyer scoring to even it up. At that point, with the score tied 5-5 and the series tied 3-3-1, a member of the Soviet delegation unexpectedly informed Canada that, if the score and the series remained tied, the Soviets would claim victory as throughout the series they had scored the most goals.
Then, with just 34 seconds remaining in the game, Paul Henderson in perhaps the most famous moment in Canadian sports history scored! Jamming in a rebound behind Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak Henderson’s goal became known as “the goal heard around the world”. Team Canada held out for the next 30sec to win the final and the series.

Colorized version

The last game I was so tired because I played all eight games. Ken Dryden played four games and Tony Esposito played four games, but I played all eight games. It was bad luck for me. On the last goal, Yvan Cournoyer gave a pass to Paul Henderson. Henderson shot at me, I made the save, but the second time he scored on me. Unbelievable. –Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak

Capturing Victory

He scored on me. Unbelievable
-Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak

Frank Lennon came to the Soviet games as part of the official Canadian fan contingent of over 3000 people. As the last seconds of Game 8 ticked down Lennon knew if the Canadians were to win they would score in the last then. As the timer counted down Lennon snuck down to the rink edge and choosing the spot that he thought most likely to get a good picture of the winning goal, focused his camera on the Soviet net. He was not disappointed and on film caught one of the greatest moments in Canadian sporting history. Henderson later talked to Lennon and remembered that “Everybody around him jumped up and (Lennon) would (later) say to me that he was amazed he had the presence of mind to keep shooting … Everything within him wanted to jump up and shout.”

The picture earned Lennon numerous awards including, a National Newspaper Award, Canadian Press Picture of the Year and even ‘Sports Picture of the Century’ by one magazine. His paper, The Toronto Star, gave him a bonus for shooting the picture and through a mistake at the syndication department also allowed him to copyright the picture. The picture became hugely popular and Lennon who now owned the copyright got royalties from the shot. Frank continued working at the Toronto Star until he retired in 1990. Once in 1969, Frank Lennon was assaulted by John Lennon, after following the Beatle member into the Toronto airport in an effort to get a photo. Frank died on August 21, 2006, at the age of 79.

In 1972, nobody lost … Who won? Hockey won” -Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak

Canada Celebrates

Most of Canada shut down that day to watch the game. Workers called in sick and schools herded their students into gyms to listen or watch the series finale. As the clock clicked down most feared the worst but when Henderson scored the Country erupted in celebration. Henderson’s mother who was watching the game from her home in Lucknow, Ont. said: “When Paul scored that goal it was like an atom bomb going off”. While the country exploded around her Mrs. Henderson, to celebrate, sat down and had a cup of tea.

Lesson Learned

While the Canadians were overjoyed at winning the series the Hockey establishment saw that European hockey had caught up to the Canadian game. The almost defeat at the hands of the Soviet team saw the Team Canada get a complete overall in their training regime. Where before they would meet only a few weeks before playing now they met months before to start training and getting back to shape. The NHL teams also had their eyes opened. Before the series having a European player was unthinkable but now they saw a real talent pool across the Atlantic. Tretiak who went on to become a goaltending coach for the Chicago Blackhawks believes: “In 1972, nobody lost. Everybody won. Now we could see that the best players in Russian could play with the NHL. It opened the door for the European players in the NHL today. Now, it’s the best league in the world. Who won? Hockey won.”

Game Info

The eight-game series consisted of four games in Canada and four games in the Soviet Union, all of them held in the Moscow’s Palace of Sports, Lenin Central Stadium.

Team Score Team Score City and Venue
Game 1 USSR 7 Canada 3 Montreal (Montreal Forum)
Game 2 Canada 4 USSR 1 Toronto (Maple Leaf Gardens)
Game 3 Canada 4 USSR 4 Winnipeg (Winnipeg Arena)
Game 4 USSR 5 Canada 3 Vancouver (Pacific Coliseum)
Game 5 USSR 5 Canada 4 Moscow (*Luzhniki Arena)
Game 6 Canada 3 USSR 2 Moscow (*Luzhniki Arena)
Game 7 Canada 4 USSR 3 Moscow (*Luzhniki Arena)
Game 8 Canada 6 USSR 5 Moscow (*Luzhniki Arena)

*Luzhniki Arena used to be known in 1972 as the, Palace of Sports, Lenin Central Stadium

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Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston

Behind the camera: Neil Leifer
Where: Central Maine Youth Center in Lewiston, Maine, the state’s second largest city
Photo Summary: Muhammad Ali screaming for Sonny Liston to get up off the ring
Picture Taken: Liston was knocked down 1 minute and 42 seconds into the first round on May 25, 1965

Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston title match is still one of the most controversial boxing matches in the world. The second match only lasted 1 and 42 seconds before Muhammad Ali knocked done Liston with what would become known as the “phantom punch”. While Liston laid on the ground Ali stood over him screaming to get up while photographers snapped this now-famous photo of the scene.

Taking the photo


Ali vs. Liston - May 25, 1965 - Lewiston, Maine. - Neil Leifer  5-22-07

In 2012 Wired.com did a series of photos of photographers and their iconic pictures


Photographer Neil Leifer recounting taking the picture:

Well, I was lucky. I don’t want to sound like I’m just being modest … The photographer you see between Ali’s legs is Herbie Scharfman, the other Sports Illustrated photographer. It didn’t make a difference how good he was that night. He was obviously in the wrong seat. What the good sports photographer does is when it happens and you’re in the right place, you don’t miss. Whether that’s instinctual or whether it’s just luck, I don’t know.

To capture the color, Leifer had rigged special flash units over the ring, but this led to a bigger challenge: Leifer had one shot. The other photographers brandished the equivalent of semi-automatics whilst he held a sniper rifle. Leifer’s strobes needed time to recharge, which meant he couldn’t click and click. Whenever a fighter fell, the other photographers could quick-twitch their shutters, but Leifer had to pick one moment, artistically aping the sniper’s motto: one shot, one kill.

Nonetheless, Leifer managed the risks and got the great shot—got it, knew it—but couldn’t get it to stick. Not in the minds of his editors, at least. Eventually, many months after that issue of Sports Illustrated had been consigned to the stacks, an editor espied the image again and thought it worth consideration. He submitted it to the prestigious “Pictures of the Year” contest—the Oscars for photographers. But there, too, the photo failed. What would later be voted as the best sports photo of the century couldn’t conjure an honorable mention. — Iowa Review:How Things Break

Cassius Marcellus Clay

Muhammad Ali (Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on January 17, 1942) was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr and would grow to stand 6’3″ (1.91 m) tall. It wasn’t until March 6, 1964, Malcolm X when Elijah Muhammad the leader of the Nation of Islam stated that Cassius Clay was to be renamed Muhammad (the prophet of Islam) Ali (fourth rightly guided caliph). As an amateur Clay won boxing gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Turning pro he won his first fight against Tunney Hunsaker in Louisville, October 29, 1960. Over the next three years, he defeated a string of boxers including, Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, Lamar Clark (who had won his previous 40 bouts by knockout), Doug Jones, and Henry Cooper. By 1963 Clay was ready to take a stab at the World Heavyweight Boxing championship title held by the much-feared Sonny Liston.
Sonny Liston

Charles L. “Sonny” Liston (May 8?, 1932 – December 30?, 1970), was born into incredible poverty of a shareholder farmer family in Johnson Township, St. Francis County, Arkansas. As a young man, he was arrested and sent to jail which he found he actually enjoyed. The food in prison was better than any he had on the outside and while in he was discovered by a prison Chaplin who encouraged and taught him to box. Outside the prison, he soon gained a fearsome reputation as a professional boxer taking the championship title from Floyd Patterson on 25 September 1962. He and everyone in the boxing world expected Liston to crush the fast-talking Clay.

The First Match



The bout was held on February 25, 1964, in Miami, Florida. Clay launched a physiological campaign against Liston, dubbing him “the big ugly bear” and showing up and taunting him while Liston trained. When the fight opened Liston almost ran across the ring to shut up with his fists the fast-talking Clay. When talking to the press about his strategy for fighting Liston Clay and fellow street-poet Drew Bundini Brown coined the now famous quotes about he would, “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,” and “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.” Which is exactly what Clay did as he slowly tired down Liston while landing a few blows himself. By the third round Clay was in control but in the forth a mysterious substance found its way into Clay’s eyes blinding him. While half blind he was able to avoid Liston’s punishing blows until the burning substance was washed away from Clay’s sweat and tears. Eyes cleared by the fifth round Clay landed a number of combinations and by the sixth Liston seemed pushed to the limit. Then Liston shocked the world when he threw in the towel in 7th claiming to have an injured shoulder and giving Clay the World Heavyweight Boxing championship.

Cassius Clay becomes Muhammad Ali

The day after the fight Cassius Clay held a press conference where he announced that he was a Muslim and member of the Nation of Islam or Black Muslims. The American public was shocked at this news as the Nation of Islam was viewed with suspicion if not outright hostility. Soon Cassuis Clay announced that like Malcolm X he would be giving up his last name, his slave name and would like to be called Cassius X. Then on March 6, 1954, the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, announced that Cassius X’s new name would be Muhammad Ali.

Second Fight

Muhammad Ali (Vs. Sonny Liston) Sports Poster Print
Due to the highly irregular fight where the now Muhammad Ali had won the title the boxing commission scheduled a new fight for 16th of November 1964. Three days before the fight Ali suffered a hernia that required an operation and recovery time so the fight was delayed for six months. During those months was a fire at Ali’s apartment, Malcolm X was assassinated and the Nation of Islam’s offices in New York was bombed. The fight was to be held in Boston either due to fears of an attack on Ali or Liston’s mob connections one Garrett Byrne, on May 5, 1965, filed an injunction to block the fight. When word broke out that Boston was out Sam Michael the director of economic development in the small town of Lewiston, Maine sent word that his town could host it. Lewiston was well off the beaten path of boxing and Sam had to basically build up the fight from scratch. He had to find an arena, print tickets, get the necessary permits, find a ring but he was able to do it even calling the governor to help. By May 7 Sam Michael had everything in order and announced that the title ship match would be held in a small town about 150 miles north of Boston, Lewiston.

With the assassination of Malcolm X and Liston’s mob connections rumors abound that either boxer could be killed that night. The TV broadcasters of the fight, Sports Vision, Inc, put out a $1,000,000 insurance policy in case Ali was murdered and the fight called off. Ali’s camp knew the dangers and security were tight a New York bomb squad was brought in to sweep the building and some 200 extra police brought into search people coming into the arena. Prices soared for tickets and due to the location, security fears, and the hysteria surrounding the fight only 2,434 fans attended the fight.
Ali had changed in many ways since the last fight and so had Liston but where Ali pushed forward Liston seemed to crumble. Black activist Dick Gregory remembered visiting Liston expecting a man of steel eager to retain his title but found a defeated man slumped in front of the TV. He would tell his friends, “his mind is blown. He’s gonna lose fast.”

Ali Liston fight AP Photo by John Rooney

AP Photo by John Rooney


Gregory couldn’t have been more right as 1min and 40 seconds into the fight Ali threw what would become the “phantom punch” knocking Liston down. The ref, Jersey Joe Walcott, a former world Heavyweight champion himself couldn’t keep Ali in the corner. Ali perhaps confused himself on why Liston was on the ground screamed for Liston to get up. It was at that second that ringside photographers snapped one of the most famous pictures of Ali. It was also in that confusion that the ref forgot to count out Liston. After what was determined to be around 14sec Walcott actually allowed Liston to get up and continue the fight. Ali quickly resumed his beating before a publisher, Nat Fleischer of Ring Magazine started yelling at Walcott that Liston was down on the mat longer than 10sec. So one of the important fights of the time was called not by a ref, ringside judge or boxing official but a journalist who just happened to be there. Walcott quickly separated the boxers and declared Ali the defender and still world heavyweight champion.

What’s my Name?

Pictures of this famous pose are often confused with another fight of Ali’s February 6, 1967, Muhammad Ali vs Ernie Terrell. Terrell had infuriated Ali by calling him by his former name, Clay. Muhammad Ali pummeled Terrell throughout the fight screaming, “What’s my name, Uncle Tom … What’s my name.” He would beat Terrell unmercifully but hold back from actually knocking him out. Many sports writers at the time said that the fight only went the full 15 rounds because Ali wanted it to. After the fight Sports Illustrated writer, Tex Maule wrote, “It was a wonderful demonstration of boxing skill and a barbarous display of cruelty.”

Copyright info

APimages handles the copyright procedures for the John Rooney B&W photo

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Uncle Sam Wants You

Behind the camera: James Montgomery Flagg
Where: Flagg’s Studio
Photo Summary: Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer in such a way that the finger seems to follow the viewer around the room.
Picture Taken: Originally published as the cover for the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly with the title ‘What Are You Doing for Preparedness?’. Released as a poster in 1917.
This image is in the public domain because it was taken by a federal employee, James Montgomery Flagg

This World War I recruitment poster image of Uncle Sam is one of the most recognized posters in the world. The poster cemented the image of bearded Uncle Sam and over 4 million posters were created. It became so popular that it was recreated for World War II and since then used as inspiration for countless other posters.

Painting Uncle Sam

July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly

James Montgomery Flagg originally created the image for the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly with the title “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?”. When America entered World War I the federal government set up a propaganda division called, Committee on Public Information, headed by one George Creel. Creel, in turn, created a Committee of Pictorial Publicity (COPP) which was to specialize in creating pro-war posters. Flagg joined COPP in 1917 and redesigned his earlier Leslie magazine cover into the present famous poster.

 

 

James Montgomery Flagg

James Montgomery Flagg

The image is actually based on a very popular British recruitment poster, Kitchener Wants You! (Shown Below), published in 1914 and designed by artist Alfred Leete. Looking for a more stern face for Uncle Sam Flagg used his own features for the face and, “an inescapable, slacker-accusing finger, demanding: I WANT YOU.” During World War II when presenting a copy to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Flagg remarked that he had used his own face. Roosevelt replied: “I congratulate you on your resourcefulness in saving model hire. Your method suggests Yankee forebears.”

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam’s origins remain rather murky but seem to have come from the war effort surrounding the War of 1812 when America tried to conquer its northern neighbour, Canada. Legend has it that the meat that the soldiers received had the initials E.A.– the U.S. stamped on all the army-bound food. E.A. stood for government subcontractor Elbert Anderson and the U.S. stood for the United States of America. Some of the soldiers didn’t make the connection and when asked what the initials stood for army suppliers told them, “Elbert Anderson and Uncle Sam” Uncle Sam being another contractor who supplied meat, a much loved Sam Wilson. History.com claims that on Sept 7, 1813, the “United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam.”
Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope remarks that the story is, “Very neat, but is it true? On the surface, it might seem so. Researchers have established that Elbert Anderson and Sam Wilson did exist and did supply meat to the government during the War of 1812. What’s more, the earliest known reference to Uncle Sam in the sense of the U.S. government appeared in 1813 in the Troy Post.”

 

 

 

Uncle Sam points from the cover of Leslie's Magazine Feb 15 1917

Uncle Sam points from his 2nd Front Cover of Leslie’s Magazine on Feb 15 1917

However, the first connection with Uncle Sam equaling Sam Wilson doesn’t appear in print until almost 30 years later. Even when Sam Wilson died in 1854 his home papers didn’t mention the Sam Wilson, Uncle Sam connection. The post in 1816 did print a story claiming that Uncle Sam originated from the United States Light Dragoons (USLD) a regiment formed in 1807. This story claims that when asked what was said on their hats the USLD soldiers would say, “Uncle Sam’s Lazy Dogs.” In any event, Uncle Sam’s origins will remain shrouded in history.

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Elvis meets Nixon

Behind the camera: Oliver F. Atkins
Where: The Whitehouse’s Oval Office in Washington DC, America
Photo Summary: Elvis shaking Nixon’s hand in front of the Oval office’s military service flags
Picture Taken: 12:30 Meeting that lasted 30min on December 21, 1970
This image is in the public domain because it was taken by a federal employee, Oliver F. Atkins

Nowadays meeting between cultural icons and political leaders is an everyday occurrence with Bono getting access to the UN seemingly whenever he wants. In the ’70s suggesting that Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll, and Richard Nixon, the American President could have a get together would have been met with disbelief. Yet on December 21, 1970 it happened and White House photographer, Oliver (Ollie) Atkins, captured the whole event in Black and White glory. The meeting was top secret at the time but almost a year later, on Jan. 27, 1972, the Washington Post broke the story. Soon the photo was released and it quickly became and still is one of the most requested photos from the national archives.

The Meeting


Official summary of the meeting


On the morning of December 21, 1970, a limo pulled up to the White House and one of Elvis’s bodyguards handed over a letter asking for a meeting with President Nixon. The five-page letter was written on American Airlines stationery and requested a meeting with the president to talk about Elvis obtaining the credentials of a federal agent in the war on drugs. Secret Service agents alerted Egil (Bud) Krogh, Nixon’s then-deputy assistant for domestic affairs, who was able to talk to the right people to get a meeting with the President. The time was set for 12:30 and at 11:45 Elvis was at the White House northwest gate. Krogh met Elvis and his two bodyguards, Sonny West and Jerry Schilling, and escorted them to the Oval Office reception area. Bud remembers being a little shocked when Elvis showed up wearing his rock star gear and not the usual business suits that the “normal” visiting world leaders wore. He was still impressed, though:

… in his own rock star way, he was resplendent. He was wearing tight-fitting dark velvet pants, a white silky shirt with very high collars and open to below his chest, a dark purple velvet cape, a gold medallion, and heavy silver-plated amber-tinted designer sunglasses with “EP” built into the nose bridge. Around his waist was a belt with a huge four-inch by six-inch gold belt buckle with a complex design I couldn’t make out without embarrassing myself. . . This was a time in sartorial history when gold chains festooned the necks of many of the more style-conscious men in our society. — Bud Krogh


The national archives have a travelling exhibit of the Elvis and Nixon meeting and some of the items they display are Elvis and Nixon’s clothes. In addition to the huge gold plated belt buckle, they have Elvis’s black velvet overcoat and black leather boots. For Nixon, they have the gray woollen suit, tie, and the size 11½ black shoes.

This was one of many pictures taken by Oliver Atkins, for more pictures go to the photo gallery of the meeting. Elvis had actually requested the meeting because, ironically, he was concerned about America’s drug problem:

Richard M. Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House - Dec 21 1970

Nixon and Elvis colorized by the talented Marina Amaral ( @marinamaral2 )

I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good … The drug culture, the hippie elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc. do NOT consider me as their enemy or as they call it The Establishment. I call it America and I love it. Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help The Country out. I have no concern or Motives other than helping the country out.
So I wish not to be given a title or an appointed position. I can and will do more good if I were made a Federal Agent at Large and I will help out by doing it my way through my communications with people of all ages. — Elvis’s Letter to the President

In less than seven years Elvis would die at the age of 42 from prescription drug abuse and heart disease (although he never officially sought any sort of drug addiction help) As shown in his letter, Elvis was trying to gain an official title and badge. While he usually carried himself with the confidence that the KING of rock roll would Krogh remembers that even Elvis was awed by being in the Oval Office, “I think he was just awed by where he found himself. I ended up having to help him walk across over to the president’s desk.

Nixon is admiring the cufflinks given to Elvis by Vice-President, Spiro Agnew.


Elvis brought a number of things to the meeting including other badges and credentials from other drug agencies, some pictures of his daughter and a present for Mr. Nixon, a World War II-era Colt 45. (The gun is now on display at the Richard Nixon Library) Nixon politely heard out Elvis’s case and did end up giving him the badge he asked for.
In a summary of the meeting created by Krogh for the President, he noticed that Elvis seemed quite emotional about being on Nixon’s side. He also expressed his concern about how the Beatles were a bad influence on the country. In the meeting summary, Krogh wrote that Elvis said that the Beatles came “to this country, made their money, and then returned to England where they promoted an anti-American theme. The President nodded in agreement and expressed some surprise.”

As the 30min was about to wrap up Elvis in a spontaneous moment gave Nixon a hug and told him how much he supported him. Just before he was about to leave Elvis asked if it would be OK if Nixon could meet his bodyguards, which Nixon agree to do.

Nixon meeting Elvis's bodyguards

Nixon meeting Elvis's bodyguards, Sonny West on the left and Jerry Schilling on the right


Years later Krogh would look back and recall that Elvis had probably just wanted the badge to complete his collection, “Oh man, we were set up! But it was fun, said Krogh. “He said all the right words about trying to do the right thing and I took him at his word, but I think he clearly wanted to get a badge and he knew the only way he was going to get it.

The photographer, Oliver F. (Ollie) Atkins, would later die of cancer, in Washington, Virginia, January 24, 1977.

The Flags Behind the King and President

In the background, you can see the Oval office’s military service flags from each division of the Armed Forces. From left to right are the US Indoor/Parade versions of the Army, Marines, Navy, AirForce, and US Coast Guard. Below are the flags as they appear stretched out, note that the oval office flags are the indoor parade versions and as such have gold tassels surrounding them.

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James Dean in Times Square


Behind the camera: Dennis Stock
Where: Walking the streets of Times Square, New York
Photo Summary: James Dean walking in the rain in Times Square New York
Picture Taken: February 1955

James Dean’s fate as an iconic movie star would be guaranteed after this photo was published in a 1955 LIFE magazine issue. Only a few months later the star would die in a car crash out west. His image as a rebellious angst-ridden star would be forever sealed by his death.

Taking the picture


The photographer, Dennis Stock, had met James Dean in New York where the two talked and agreed to work together. Stock was at first hesitant about the shoot. But after Jimmy, Dennis always insisted on calling him James Dean Jimmy, invited him to a sneak premiere to Dean’s film, East of Eden, Stock was sold on the collaboration. In an interview to PBS remembers,

“As was customary in my business, I would solicit an assignment guarantee to cover expenses. The obvious magazine to approach was Life. If I was assigned to the Life editors, we could set up a schedule for visiting Indiana and New York. We further agreed that I would have the first exclusive rights to the picture story on Jimmy.”

Stock also recalled that Dean, perhaps pushing his star power too far, made some conditions on the photoshoot. He wanted a cover guarantee and an agreement that his friend to do the accompanying write-up. Stock recalls,

It was an unusual and highly egocentric gesture. I said I’d pass the request on to the editors. It was a foolhardy demand, which I never conveyed to the magazine, gambling on our growing friendship to keep the assignment afloat. I told Jimmy the editor’s answer was no. For days he acted like a spoiled kid, and then finally came around, making it possible for us to leave for Fairmount the first week in February, 1955.

They went to Fairmount to cover his small town Midwest childhood then went to New York to capture his budding movie stardom. In Fairmount they shot a number of interesting shots including one with a large hog. While Dean was agreeable in his hometown but in New York Dennis found the movie star to be grumpy and difficult to work with. Apparently, the night before the Times Square shot Dean’s insomnia had hit and the idea to take pictures in the cold wet and miserable weather took some convincing by the photographer. The photo essay titled, Moody new star, was published in the March 7, 1955, issue of LIFE magazine. On pg 128 this image was published with the caption:

Walking in Rain, Dean wanders anonymously down the middle of New York’s Times Square. His top-floor garret on Manhattan’s West Side is no more home to him, he says, than the farm in Indiana. But he feels that his continuing attempt to find out just where he belongs is the source of his strength as an actor.

James Dean


James Dean died at the young age of 24 on September 30, 1955, in a horrible car crash at the junction of highways 46 and 41 in California. His image of a rebel was created in one his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause. His other two movie roles, loner Cal Trask in East of Eden, and as the surly farmer Jett Rink in Giant only supported this rebel image. Cited as an actor with great talent his death guaranteed that we would only see this side of talent. In death, he was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have two posthumous acting nominations.

Dennis Stock

The New York native Stock joined the navy at the young age of 16 to fight in World War II. After the war, he studied photography and in 1951 won the first prize in the Life young photographers competition. Catching the eye of famed photographer Robert Capa he was invited to become an associate member of Magnum, Stock had early assignments in Paris before he began shooting the Hollywood scene. Over the years he published a number of collections about the American jazz scene. He died on Jan. 11, 2010 from colon cancer in Sarasota, Florida. He was 81.

Copyright info


Copyright to this photo is managed by Magnum: James Dean in Times Square by Dennis Stock

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Face on Mars

Behind the camera: Viking I space probe
Where: 40.8° N, 9.6° W Mars
Photo Summary: A mountain formation on Mars that looks like a face
Picture Taken: July 25, 1976 as the Viking 1 space probe orbited Mars
This image is in the public domain because it was taken by NASA

Together with Bat Boy, and Elvis the “Face on Mars” has haunted supermarket checkout Tabloids for years. NASA scientists call it merely an interesting rock formation that happens to look like a face. The faithful call it an artificial monument created by Martians as a sign, perhaps a warning, to us or other Aliens.

Where on Mars

The Face is a large mountain or mesa in the Cydonia region of Mars. It is located at around the 40.8° N, 9.6° W, that’s 40.8°N of the Martian equator. Approximately 3 km long and 1.5 km wide the face was first photographed on July 25, 1976, when the Viking 1 space probe was in orbit taking pictures. The Viking 1 was snapping photos of possible landing sites for its companion ship, Viking 2 when it shot what appeared to be a giant head.
The Viking spacecraft beamed the potential landing sites back to earth where NASA planners pored over the images to find a landing spot. When NASA scientists first saw the head the facial features were thought of as a neat coincidence. The decision was made to release the image in the hopes of spurring the public’s interest in Mars and space exploration in general.

Caption of JPL Viking Press Release P-17384 NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION VIKING NEWS CENTER PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (213) 354-6000 Viking 1-61
P-17384 (35A72)
PHOTO CAPTION
July 31, 1976


This picture is one of many taken in the northern latitudes of Mars by the Viking 1 Orbiter in search of a landing site for Viking 2. It shows eroded mesa-like landforms. The huge rock formation in the center, which resembles a human head, is formed by shadows giving the illusion of eyes, nose, and mouth. The feature is 1.5 kilometres (one mile) across, with the sun angle at approximately 20 degrees. The speckled appearance of the image is due to bit errors, emphasized by enlargement of the photo. The picture was taken on July 25 from a range of 1873 kilometres (1162 miles). Viking 2 will arrive in Mars orbit next Saturday (August 7) with a landing scheduled for early September.

Cydonia

Cydonia, the area of Mars where the face is located is covered with mesas that rise high in the air, the surrounding areas having been eroded by the thin Martian air, and possibly water, over billions of years. NASA Scientists saw the image as simply a large mountain similar to mesa’s found in Arizona deserts. The low image resolution of the Viking camera made the “face’s” features appear smoother than what they would be in real life. Plus the shadows give the perception of facial features. After all the brain is trained to find patterns, especially faces, in the things we see around us which is why we see things in clouds or the man on the moon. This brain’s function even has a name: pareidolia (payr.eye.DOH.lee.uh) n. The erroneous or fanciful perception of a pattern or meaning in something that is actually ambiguous or random. Finally, as talked about in the NASA caption, a bit error or a part of the image was lost in transmission appeared right where a nostril would be on a humanoid head. It is these lost “dots” or “bit errors” that give the original image a spotty appearance.

Face becomes famous

When the image was released it captured some attention but it wasn’t until the face was re-discovered three years later that it really captured the public’s imagination. Computer engineers Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar, under contract at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, had been intrigued by the face and another nearby structure shaped like a pyramid, now called the D&M pyramid after its two discoverers. Poring over NASA picture archives they found 10 images taken of the face and surrounding area but only 2 where high-resolution of the face. Using a new software they had developed called SPIT (Starburst Pixel Interleave Technique) they were able to digitally enhance the images. The results of enhanced images appeared to reveal more detail of the face including, “mouth, teeth, eye sockets, eyeball and pupil, and hairline or headress, and the FACE appears to be bysymmetrical.”

The Monuments of Mars


Some of the "Monuments of Mars" see the so-called pyramid in the bottom right hand corner.


By this time public interest in the face and the potential of a lost civilization on Mars exploded. A cottage industry of books, conventions, science fiction plots about the Face on Mars quickly sprung up seemingly lead by Richard Hoagland. In his book The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever he talks about the face and other surrounding formations that he and others have deemed evidence of a lost civilization. Included in these other “structures” are a pyramid, fortress, ruins of a city, and much more. Fringe groups who have thought that the pyramids of Egypt and South America were either inspired by or actually built by Aliens quickly pounced on the pyramid civilization on Mars theory as proof that Aliens have visited both planets.
Aerial images of the pyramid do look similar to the shots of the supposed pyramid on Mars. However, if the Face on Mars was an artificial structure why does it look straight up? The face itself is huge if you were to stand on the ground surrounding the structure you would have trouble making out the features so why would a civilization spend vast amounts of energy building something that they couldn’t even enjoy? Past civilizations on Earth have always built great monuments like this in a standing or upright sitting position i.e. Sphinx so that they could be viewed by worshippers/subjects on the ground.
While Hoagland and his fellow band of believers were working themselves into a fevered pitch pointing out new artificial landmarks on the Martian landscape NASA was preparing for the next Mars visitor. The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) began orbiting Mars on September 12, 1997, and much to the shock of the proponents of artificial life on Mars NASA did not first go to Cydonia to re-map the Face of Mars. NASA scientists refused to acknowledge that the Face of Mars is a priority and stated something to the effect of, we’ll get around to it eventually. The public outcry was so great to revisit the Cydonia region that NASA was forced to change its timetable and agreed to re-photograph the Face of Mars and surrounding formations as soon as possible.

Race revealed


Image taken during the 2001 flyover


On the 5th of April,1998, MGS flew over the Cydonia region for the first time. The MGS was able to take pictures 10 times sharper than the original Viking photos. As it passed over the Face thousands of earth bond enthusiasts held their breath but … there was no face. Pictures beamed back to earth showed that the Face of Mars was in fact just another mountain and on closer inspection looks nothing like a face.
Of course, this did not faze the hard-core believers who pointed out that the Face on Mars is located at 41 degrees north Martian latitude. At that degree, it was winter in April 1998, winter on Mars is a cloudy time of year. True believers clung to the belief that the MGS camera images were distorted by winter clouds! If only NASA could get shots on a clear Martian day. Then surely the face would be there for all to see.

On the 8th of April, 2000, such a day happened to come along. A cloudless summer day in Cydonia, MGS (MGS even now continues to orbit and photograph Mars having mapped almost 5% of Red Planet’s surface) took its most recent pictures: “We had to roll the spacecraft 25 degrees to centre the Face in the field of view,” said Jim Garvin, chief scientist for NASA Mars Exploration Program. “It’s not easy to target Cydonia,” said Dr. Garvin. “In fact, it’s hard work.” MGS is a mapping satellite that looks straight down and scans like a fax machine in 2.5 km-wide strips. “We just don’t pass over the Face very often.”
Again the photos confirmed that the Face on Mars is natural not a face with no eyes, no nose, and no mouth. This time the MGS was able to use laser altimetry data to confirm even more that Face is natural.
Of course, not even this has convinced the die-hard believers. Google “Face of Mars” and you will get hundreds of sites claiming that even with the recent MGS Passovers there is enough evidence to prove that the face is artificial and that NASA is trying to cover up life on the Red Planet by providing distorting images and refusing to do certain photographic tests to prove that the Face of Mars isn’t natural. If you yourself are on the fence thousands of pictures taken by MGS have been placed online and you can scan Mar’s many volcanoes, canyons, ice fields, weather systems and even the latest images of Cydonia and the “Face.”

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Loch Ness

Behind the camera: Officially Colonel Robert Wilson but later revealed to be Ian Wetherell
Where: Northern shoreline of Loch Ness in Scotland, UK
Photo Summary: The supposed Loch Ness Monster
Picture Taken: April 19, 1934

The story goes that on April 19, 1934, Colonel Robert Wilson, a respectable surgeon, was driving along Loch Ness when something in the water caught his eye. He quickly whipped out his trusty camera and took some pictures. Rumours and sightings of the Loch Ness Monster had created a media sensation in the early 1930s. When Wilson’s picture was published, believers seized it as the irrefutable proof that some kind of large beast lived in the lake. Wilson refused to be drawn into the speculation, never publishing the picture himself and refused to have his name associated with it. Therefore the picture became know as the “The Surgeon’s Photo”

Loch Ness

Loch Ness (Loch means Lake) is 37km (23 miles) long and more or less shaped like a big rectangle with an average width of 1.5km (about a mile). With a surface area of 56 km2, (22 miles2) Loch Ness is the second largest in Scotland terms of surface area. When you take into account how deep the lake is though, deepest part 226 m (740 feet), it is the largest by volume. It’s said that Loch Ness has as much fresh water as all of England and Wales. The city of Inverness is only a few kilometers north of the Loch. The area surrounding the Loch has a high peat content that drains into and makes the lake dark and murky. Even though the lake is cloudy it supports a variety of wildlife including salmon, eels, pike, sticklebacks, sturgeon, trout, seals, otters and supposedly Nessie.

Ancient Monster

Thou shalt go no further, nor touch the man
-St. Columba

The Scottish tribes who lived in the area, the Picts, named after their Painted bodies, have many legends about a monster that lived in Loch Ness. Some of their art recovered from archaeological finds show the carving of a strange water beast. Ancient historians recorded almost 1500 years ago that St. Columba, who converted much of Scotland to Christianity, had an encounter with a monster. While attending a funeral for a man who had been killed while swimming in the lake St. Columba saw that a monster was approaching another man. The ancient historian, Adamnan reports that St Columba said, “ ’Thou shalt go no further, nor touch the man; go back with all speed.’ Then at the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified, and fled more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes.”

It wasn’t till the 30’s that the Loch Ness legend spread outside rural Scotland. In the May 2, 1933, edition of the Inverness Courier it was reported that a Mr. and Mrs. John Mackay saw what they described as a huge animal splashing about before diving into the lake. This report sparked huge media interest throughout the country. All the major papers sent reporters to the Scottish backwater in hopes of catching a glimpse of the beast that would become to known by the nickname, “Nessie”. It was this media attention that solidified the belief some sort of monster lived in the depths of Loch Ness.

Sightings soon became commonplace and were helped by the fact that in the ’30s a new highway was built along the northern shoreline, allowing people to drive the length of the lake. One newspaper, The Daily Mail, hoping to catch the scoop hired a famous self-described big-game hunter named Marmaduke Wetherell to investigate. He wasn’t able to bag the beast but he did find some huge tracks leading into the lake that he proudly displayed to the press. When the Natural History Museum tried to confirm the find they quickly discovered that the footprints had been a hoax made by a dried Hippo’s foot. Something that at the time was commonly used for umbrella stands. Wetherell was humiliated by being taken in by the prank and bitterly faded from the limelight but his link with Nessie didn’t stop there. It wasn’t until 1994 that Wetherell’s role in the creation of the Nessie legend became public.

Wetherell’s Revenge


Model of the Nessie Submarine


Alastair Boyd, a self-described true believer, who himself witnessed a huge beast in Loch Ness has spent years researching Nessie. In the early 90’s David Martin, a friend of Alastair came across an old 1975 article detailing a claim that Ian Wetherell, the son of Marmaduke Wetherell, claimed that the surgeon photo was a fake. They decided to investigate further and found the location of Marmaduke Wetherell surviving stepson Christian Spurling, as Ian Wetherell had already died. Christian Spurling when confronted with the story, aged 90 himself and on his deathbed, confessed that yes the surgeon picture was a hoax, and the mastermind behind it was, Marmaduke Wetherell.

Instead of continuing the search after the hippo foot incident, Wetherell decided to get even. Christian Spurling his stepson remembers him saying, “we’ll give them their monster”. Spurling, a professional model-maker, was asked by his stepfather to sculpt something that would fool the public. Starting with a toy submarine Spurling added a long neck and small head. He recounted that the mock-up, “was modelled on the idea of a sea serpent.” The finished product was about 45 cm long, and about 30 cm high with a lead keel for stability on the water. On a quiet day Marmaduke Wetherell his son Ian and stepson Christian Spurling went down to the lake where Ian took some pictures of the “monster”. As a finishing touch, Marmaduke Wetherell convinced Dr. Wilson to develop the photo and sell it to the Daily Mail to add respectability to the hoax. Wetherell knew Wilson through a mutual friend, Maurice Chambers, the same man Dr. Wilson claimed he was visiting when he talked about taking the Surgeon Photo to reporters in 1934.

Still has faith


I would actually stake my life on their existence
-Alastair Boyd

Even though Alastair Boyd uncovered the hoax, he still has faith. That one of the biggest pieces of evidence supporting the existence of Nessie was a lie hasn’t fazed him, “I am so convinced of the reality of these creatures that I would actually stake my life on their existence,” recalling how he himself has seen something in the lake, “I trust my eyesight … I used to make my living teaching people how to observe, and I know that the thing I saw was not a log or an otter or a wave, or anything like that. It was a large animal.”

After the “surgeon photo” emerged in the ’30s, the general consensus was that Nessie was a leftover from the dinosaurs, maybe an ancestor of the plesiosaurs, a huge dinosaur that used fin-like appendages to move through the water. The leftover dinosaur theory is discounted though because the plesiosaurs existed millions of years ago and the loch itself is only about 12,000 years old, created by glacier excavation during the last ice age. So what is Nessie? Before the “surgeon photo” early sighting reported a large gray animal with legs and a long neck. Intrigued by this pre-“surgeon photo” sighting another researcher, Dr. Clark, spent two years investigating the legend.

Nessie an elephant?

After finishing his research, Dr. Clark suggests that Nessie was created in the mind of one Bertram Mills, a circus promoter. Clark thinks that Nessie was a “magnificent piece of marketing” created when Mills saw his circus elephants washing. Circus fairs visiting the city of Inverness would stop on the shore of Loch Ness too, “allow their animals to rest. When their elephants were allowed to swim in the loch, only the trunk and two humps could be seen: the first hump being the top of the head and the second being the back of the animal.” When the Loch Ness Monster story broke Bertram Mills offered a £20,000 reward, £1 million in today’s money, to anyone who could catch the monster. That’s a lot of money to risk but not if you know that the monster is really a couple of elephants already in your circus. Then his £20,000 reward doesn’t become a reward it becomes an advertising tool for the circus, as newspapers around the world report about Bertram Mill circus’s offer.

BBC Investigation

top to bottom … and we saw no signs of any large living animal in the loch
-Ian Florence

In 2003 the BBC tried to answer the question once and for all. Using 600 individual sonar beams and satellite technology the BBC team surveyed the murky depths of Loch Ness. “We went from shoreline to shoreline, top to bottom on this one, we have covered everything in this loch and we saw no signs of any large living animal in the loch,” said Ian Florence, one of the experts brought onto the team. Another specialist, Hugh MacKay noted, “We got some good clear data of the loch, steep sided, flat bottomed – nothing unusual I’m afraid. There was an anticipation that we would come up with a large sonar anomaly that could have been a monster – but it wasn’t to be.”

Having failed to find a large sonar target the BBC team sought to explain the Loch Ness Monster in a different light, that Nessie was a self-perpetuating myth. People wanted to see the monster after hearing about it and they saw what they wanted to see. To prove this theory the BBC team created an experiment where a fence post was submerged underwater and then raised in front of a busload of tourists. When later asked to sketch what they had seen most drew a square fence shaped object but a few drew monster-head shapes.

Using the BBC data and other previous sonar expeditions, researchers were able to conclude that not enough prey stock would exist in Loch Ness to support any large animal. The Loch’s murky waters can’t support enough fish and other wildlife to support a number of large predators needed for a self-sustaining breeding population. Another nail into the legend of Nessie’s coffin is a report by the Italian geologist, Luigi Piccardi. Piccardi came to the conclusion that seismic activity below the lake causes underwater waves, groans, and gaseous explosions that have kept the myth of the Loch Ness Monster alive for years. His report is backed up by studies that show when there is seismic activity in the area Nessie sightings seem to spike. The people who flock to Loch Ness every year don’t seem to care about all the evidence against Nessie, with many Nessie sightings still reported every year. Indeed no matter what the truth behind the Loch Ness legend one thing is for certain, the Loch Ness monster is very good for the Scottish tourist industry.

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American Girl in Italy

Behind the camera: Ruth Orkin
Where: Streets of Florence, Italy
Photo Summary: Ninalee Craig walking down a street surrounded by Italian men. She is wearing an orange shawl
Picture Taken: 1951
In 1951 Ruth Orkin was backpacking around Italy when she ran into another American, Ninalee Craig, doing the same thing at a cheap hotel in Florence, Italy. Talking the two decided to do a photo shoot on the streets of Florence. This, now iconic, shot is just one of many of Ninalee walking around the city while Orkin followed her and took shots Paparazzi style.

Taking the picture

After the two girls decided on doing the photo shoot they walked around the city taking pictures of Ninalee (then going by the name Jinx) doing various things. Craig remembers the two hours the shoot took as “we were literally horsing around.” While walking down a street Orkin noticed that the 6ft tall Craig was getting a lot of looks from the men hanging out there. She had Craig walk up and down the street and then captured this image. The daughter of Orkin who maintains the photographer’s collection after her death also confirms that the photo isn’t staged saying “She told the man on [the] motorcycle to tell the other men not to look at the camera,… But the composition, it just happened. And my mother got it. That’s what she was good at. … She didn’t take loads and loads of photos. She waited for shots.”

When asked if the men were harassing her or threatening her Craig said:

Very few of those men had jobs, Italy was recovering from the war and had really been devastated by it … I can tell you that it wasn’t the intent of any man there to harass me.
That young man [touching himself] is not whistling, by the way; he’s making a happy, yelping sound, And where you see him touching the family jewels, or indicating them, with his hand — well, for a long time that was considered an image people should not look at. That part was airbrushed out for years … But none of those men crossed the line at all.

Ninalee Craig



In 1951 a 23-year-old Ninalee Craig gave up her New York job and booked passage on a third-class ship going to Europe. Taking the name Jinx Allen for six months she toured through France, Spain, and Italy by herself. After about six months and spending less than a thousand American dollars Craig returned to her life in New York. She spent some time teaching before meeting an Italian widower and moving to Italy. The marriage didn’t last and so she returned to America where she met a Canadian and married again moving to Toronto in the 70s. “My life has been wonderful, I’m ready for more” says Craig.

Ruth Orkin

Ruth Orkin was born in 1921, Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of the silent film actress, Mary Ruby. At the age of 10 she took up photography and enjoyed a bit of fame after cycling from LA to New York, taking pictures along the way. She went on to become an American photographer, filmmaker and a late member of the Photo League. She married photographer and filmmaker Morris Engel. Together the made the critically acclaimed movie The Little Fugitive. She produced two photobooks, A A World Through My Window and More Pictures From My Window before dying from Cancer in New York on 16 January 1985.

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