Fire on Earth

Bitterroot Forest FireBehind the camera: John McColgan
Where: East Fork of the Bitterroot River on the Sula Complex, Bitterroot National Forest, Montana, United States
Photo Summary: An elk pauses to look at the Bitterroot Forest Fire
Picture Taken: August 6, 2000
This image is in the public domain because it was taken by a federal employee, John McColgan

NASA called it “Fire on Earth“, TIME called it “Inferno” while Wikipedia has given it the name, “Elk bath“. In the summer of 2000, there were 86 major wildfires in western America. One of these was out of control in Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest. Fire behavior specialist John McColgan was tracking the Bitterroot Forest Fire that, on August 6, 2000, was showing no signs of slowing down. While analyzing the fire he was able to take this photo, on a bridge over the river, with a Kodak DC280 digital camera.

Taking the picture



Reporter Rob Chaney of the Missoulian was able to track down McColgan while he was in Fairbanks, Alaska where he lives with his family. When asked about the photo John McColgan remembers:

That’s a once-in-a-lifetime look there. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and it ranks in the top three days of fire behavior I’ve seen … [The animals] know where to go, where their safe zones are, A lot of wildlife did get driven down there to the river. There were some bighorn sheep there. A small deer was standing right underneath me, under the bridge.”

One of his co-workers emailed the photo to a friend and from there it spread and quickly went viral.

Copyright


John McColgan took the photo while he was performing his firefighting duties as a representative of the federal government. As such the image is in the public domain and copyright free.

Other Disaster pictures

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Dead Americans at Buna Beach

Behind the camera: George Strock
Where: Buna Beach, New Guinea (Now Papua New Guinea)
Photo Summary: Three American bodies lying dead in the sand next to destroyed landing craft
Picture Taken: December 31, 1942
First published September 20, 1943 in LIFE

The Battle of Buna-Gona was a grueling campaign to stop the Japanese advance across New Guinea. After months of difficult and treacherous fighting, the combined Australian and American forces were able to attack the Japanese bases near the small New Guinea village of Buna. It was here that the Reporter George Strock was able to capture this photo of three dead American soldiers on the last day of 1942. When it was finally published in late 1943 it was the first time in WWII any American media had published an image of dead American troops.

When I took pictures, I wanted to bring the viewer into the scene
-George Strock

Getting it past the censors


George Strock handed his film over the LIFE photo editors who then selected the best images for publication in the LIFE magazine. Strock’s pictures from the Battle of Buna-Gona were published by LIFE magazine in its February 15 and 22, 1943 editions.

The image with dead soldiers was at first blocked by the military censors but one correspondent in Washington named Cal Whipple saw the value in this picture and made it his mission to get it published. He would recall spending months going “from Army captain to major to colonel to general, until I wound up in the office of an assistant secretary of the Air Corps, who decided, ‘This has to go to the White House.’” It was there that the President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt, the War Department and the director of the Office of War Information, Elmer Davis gave their approval and allowed a LIFE to publish.

The picture was released in the September 20, 1943 LIFE issue with the following editorial

Here lie three Americans.

What shall we say of them? Shall we say that this is a noble sight? Shall we say that this is a fine thing, that they should give their lives for their country?

Or shall we say that this is too horrible to look at?

Why print this picture, anyway, of three American boys dead upon an alien shore? Is it to hurt people? To be morbid?

Those are not the reasons.

The reason is that words are never enough. The eye sees. The mind knows. The heart feels. But the words do not exist to make us see, or know, or feel what it is like, what actually happens. The words are never right. . . .

The reason we print it now is that last week, President Roosevelt and Elmer Davis and the War Department decided that the American people ought to be able to see their own boys as they fall in battle; to come directly and without words into the presence of their own dead.

And so here it is. This is the reality that lies behind the names that come to rest at last on monuments in the leafy squares of busy American towns.

First-Issues-of-Sports-Illustrated-Magazine-Mark-Kauffman

Bach’s Student, Mark Kauffman, took this photo at just 17.


George Strock

A native of Los Angeles George Strock went to John C. Fremont High School. While there he took part in a then-groundbreaking photojournalism course taught by Clarence A. Bach. Bach ran his high school program like it was an actual newspaper telling students to cover certain events and guiding them on what made a good shot, “look for the unexpected!” At just 17-years-old one of Bach’s proteges, Mark Kauffman, took a picture that ended up as the cover of the first Sports Illustrated magazine. Under Bach the Fremont High School photojournalism program launched the careers of no less than six LIFE photographers including George Strock. Throughout WWII about 146 of the students who went through Bach’s program became wartime photographers

After high school, Strock was a crime and sports photographer at The Los Angeles Times. In the late 30s, he married Rose Marie and with her had two sons, George and William.

In 1940 he joined the LIFE magazine team to cover the war. At first, he spent some time covering the European theatre before being sent to Australia in 1942. From November 1942 to January 1943 he covered the Battle of Buna-Gona where he took the famous picture of three dead soldiers. In late January he was sent back to America arriving in San Francisco on January 30, 1943.

He returned to cover the island hopping of the Pacific campaign and after the War worked at LIFE. HE never lost his touch and was able to get many cover shots on the LIFE Front cover. At the age of 66, George Strock died in his home city of Los Angeles on August 23, 1977.

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WWI Christmas Truce Football Match

Behind the camera: WWI Photographer
Where: Salonika, Greece
Photo Summary: Officers and men of 26th Divisional Ammunition Train playing football
Picture Taken: December 25, 1915

By Christmas 1914 World War I had been raging for months. The fighting saw the new industrial style of warfare involving machine guns that mowed down hundreds of soldiers in seconds. This meant that the men lived out of sight in wet, cold and diseased trenches. Soldiers huddled against the cold on Christmas were surprised when German soldiers starting singing. Allied soldiers sang back. Singing led to shouting, shouting led to brief encounters in no-ones land which led to a full-on truce and soldiers intermingling on both sides for much of the 1914 Christmas and Boxing day. Yet this picture didn’t take place in 1914 or even in Western Europe. This image is of officers and men of 26th Divisional Ammunition Train playing football a year after the Christmas truce, December 25th, 1915 in another theatre of war Salonika, Greece.

1914 Christmas Truce


British and German soldiers pictured in No Mans Land during Christmas Truce 1914

British and German soldiers pictured in No Mans Land


Six months into World War I the war was not going well for either side. Modern warfare meant that both sides had to hide in trenches from deadly machine guns that could put up a wall of deadly bullets blocking any attempted attack. Meanwhile, enemy snipers waited to put a hole in anyone exposing their head over the lip of the trench. Often the men, in their trenches, were knee deep in freezing water as they waited, never knowing when the other side would attack.

Facing the British in many parts of the Western Front were German soldiers who had often lived and worked in the United Kingdom. With good English, they sang to the British who replied in kind with Christmas songs of their own. Soon men infected with this Christmas cheer ventured above the trenches an action that just hours earlier would have meant a gift of a bullet in the head. The truce didn’t happen everywhere with some battles and the inevitable causalities even taking place on Christmas. Erik Sass tells us that:

According to British eyewitnesses, German troops from Saxony were often eager to fraternize, perhaps because of their shared ethnic heritage with the Anglo-Saxons, whereas Prussian troops were much less likely to make any friendly gestures, if only because they were under the stern supervision of committed Prussian officers. Meanwhile, on the Allied side, French troops were understandably also less inclined to fraternize with invaders occupying their own homeland – indeed, in some cases, their own homes. And regardless of nationality, some individuals simply seemed unable to put aside their personal hatred of the enemy. A Bavarian dispatch runner, Adolf Hitler, voiced strong disapproval of the truce, according to one of his fellow dispatch runners, who later recounted: “He said, ‘Something like this should not even be up for discussion during wartime.’”


The professional Indian soldiers on the front lines were horrified at their British comrade’s interactions with the Germans,

Belgian, Indian and French troops who witnessed episodes of fraternisation were at best puzzled and at worst very angry that British troops were being friendly towards the Germans.

While some French did observe a Christmas Truce after the war any stories of French soldiers taking part in the truce were censored and covered up.

In France, not a word was written on the subject. The newspapers had become tools enabling the army and authorities to spread propaganda. In the country that had given the world human rights, the press was no longer free.

Even in 2004 Frenchmen who took part in the Truce were still regarded as traitors and when a film producer asked to have French military cooperation in the remaking of the Truce for film, a vocal group vetoed the idea saying the French military would never be “involved in a film about rebels.”

Christmas Truce Football Match 1914 England vs Germany

Celebration of the football game using the photo from Greece 1915


The Football Game

A certain mythology has grown up around the Christmas truce and one of the more popular urban legends was that there was a semi-formal soccer match between the two sides. As Dan Snow tells us,

There wasn’t a single organised football match between German and British sides. There may have been small-scale kick-abouts – but these were just one of many different activities men took the time to enjoy.

This articles’ photo which is used quite extensively as proof that a game took place actually happened a year later on Christmas 1915, halfway around the world at a British base in Salonika, Greece.

During the 1914 Christmas Truce, instead of football, the men were more much more interested in recovering the bodies of their comrades which had often sat rotting away in no man’s land for months.

Famous pictures from Other Wars


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Dresden Destroyed

Behind the camera: Richard Peter
Where: Dresden, Germany
Photo Summary: A statue on the City Hall Rathausturm or Tower overlooks a destroyed Dresden
Picture Taken: 1945
This image has some limited copyright rights reserved after it was released by the Deutsche Fotothek of the Saxon State Library / State and University Library Dresden (SLUB).

The logic behind the Allied bombing campaigns was that air attacks would force Nazi Germany out of the war. Working to this goal much of occupied Nazi Europe was laid waste by bombers manned by Allied airmen. One of the most controversial bombing raids was the Bombing of Dresden, Germany in World War II. Between February 13 – 15, 1945 over 1200 Allied bombers dropped their deadly payloads on one of Germany’s biggest cities. After the last bomber flew away the city was left in almost total ruins. It took years to rebuild and in 1945 photographer Richard Peter took this famous picture after scaling the city hall.

On the left Dresden in 1945 by Richard Peter and on the right Dresden in 2005 by Matthias Rietschel (AP)

On the left Dresden in 1945 by Richard Peter and on the right Dresden in 2005 by Matthias Rietschel (AP)

The Statue

The statue in the foreground overlooking the ruins of Dresden is often reported to be Peter Poeppelman’s “Allegory of Goodness” or “Allegorie der Güte” but the statue was actually carved by August Streimueller.

The Bombing Raid

The infamous Bombing of Dresden is still one of the most controversial actions of the Allies during WWII. Between February 13 and 15 1945 around 1,250 heavy bombers of the British and American air-forces dropping huge amounts of explosive and incendiary devices on the mostly wooden city. The resulting firestorm killed around 25,000 people and destroyed most of the historic city center. This happened even though Dresden was of questionable military value.

Richard Peter

Dresden 1945 and Now

Dresden 1945 and Now


Richard Peter was born in Silesia in 1895. While working as a smith and miner he was drafted into the army to serve in the trenches during WW1. After the war, he settled in Dresden and became a photojournalist for various left-wing publications. When the Nazis came to power he was blacklisted and used his skills with the camera to work in advertising before he was drafted into the German Army during WWII.

After the war he returned to Dresden to find the city totally destroyed including all his photo equipment. Using borrowed equipment he began to document Dresden’s literal rise from the ashes. Publishing his work in a book Dresden, eine kamera klagt an (Dresden, a photographic accusation).

Even with his pre-Nazi left-wing credentials, his life under the communist regime wasn’t much better. After investigating corrupt communist officials he was banned from government work but continued to make a living as a freelance photographer. He died on October 3, 1977, at the age of 82.

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Sophia Loren Meets Jayne Mansfield

Behind the camera: Hollywood Paparazzi
Photo Summary: Sophia Loren looks worryingly at Jayne Mansfield’s cleavage
Picture Taken: April 1957

Italian-French film star Sophia Loren had dazzled the world at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival. A few years later Paramount had arranged an official welcome party for her when she arrived in Hollywood. All of cinema was there including blonde bomb shell Jayne Mansfield who was famous for her movies “The Girl Can’t Help It” and “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”. Always one to make an entrance Mansfield pranced around the table in her low cut dress allowing the Hollywood Paparazzi to get this picture of Sophia Loren looks worryingly at Jayne Mansfield’s cleavage.

The paparazzi took a number of photos

The paparazzi took a number of photos

Taking the Picture

Sophia Loren has had a long and celebrated career as an international film star. Celebrated by her peers she won several awards including the academy award for Best Actress in 1962. After she started raising her family in the 70s she slowed her career down but did a few movies later in life. In 2003 Sophia Loren along with Mikhail Gorbachev, Prokofiev, Beintus, Bill Clinton, Kent Nagano and the Russian National Orchestra she even won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album For Children, Peter & The Wolf: Wolf Tracks

While doing PR for her new autobiography, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life, Sophia Loren has talked about this dinner.

She came right for my table. She knew everyone was watching. She sat down. And now, she was barely… Listen. Look at the picture. Where are my eyes? I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate. In my face, you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow—BOOM!—and spill all over the table.

They took a number of photos but none as famous as this one.

Published around the world, most media outlets censored the picture. In her native Italy, the magazines Il Giorno and Gazzetta del Popolo printed the shot only after retouching them so that it appeared her cleavage was covered. Only Il Giornale d’Italia printed them uncensored.

Even at 80-years-old in 2015 Sophia Loren still gets requests to sign this photo but refuses out of respect to Mansfield who died in a horrible car crash in 1967.

Mark Seliger took a picture named Heidi Klum at Romanoff's with Heidi Klum

Many photographers have replicated the scene including this one when
Mark Seliger took a picture with Heidi Klum

The crash

Before becoming a movie star Jayne Mansfield had a successful Broadway career. Her film career had its ups and downs as well as plenty of controversy, like when she was the first lead actress to go topless in the 1963 hit, Promises! Promises!. While her box office pull dropped she remained a popular celebrity who made news wherever she went.

Ten years after her dinner with Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield was doing an engagement at the Gus Stevens Supper Club in Biloxi, Mississippi. On June 29, 1967, at approximately 2:25 am Mansfield and her family were returning after the event. A traffic jam caused a semi to slow down and her 1966 Buick Electra 225 slammed into the raised semi truck, shearing off the top of the car and instantly killing all the adults in the car while sparing the smaller children. This accident caused the laws to be changed in the trucking industry. Strong steel bars on the rear of semi-trucks were made mandatory so that they can stop the same thing happening in other rear end accident victims. Although the industry was slow to adopt these bars they eventually became standard and are now known as “Mansfield bars.”

Mansfield didn’t attain the Marilyn Monroe level of fame after her death but is still remembered by the millions of people who grew up with her. Newer generations are more familiar with Mansfield’s daughter, Mariska Hargitay, who plays the iconic role of New York City sex crimes Sergeant Olivia Benson on the NBC television drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

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Black Tuesday

Behind the camera: © Bettmann/CORBIS
Where: New York City
Photo Summary: Bankrupt investor Walter Thornton tries to sell his luxury roadster for $100 cash on the streets of New York City following the 1929 stock market crash
Picture Taken: October 30, 1929

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 was the biggest market crash in American history. Billions of dollars were lost in a day that would become known as Black Tuesday. The crash lead to almost two decades of worldwide depressed economic activity, known today as the Great Depression. America and the world wouldn’t emerge from the effects of the crash until World War II.

One of the most famous photos of this day is of investor Walter Thornton trying to sell his Chrysler Imperial “75” Roadster for $100. According to the postcard shown on this page, a 1928 Chrysler Imperial “75” Roadster could be purchased for $1555 ($21,400 in 2014). The Thornton picture shows the desperation of men who had lost everything on the stock market. Walter Thornton was so desperate for cash that he had no problem selling his year old car for $100 (US$ 1,400 in 2014) even though he was taking a huge loss.

The real despair felt around this time led to a number of myths surrounding Black Tuesday like the myth of finical investors jumping from the windows like lemmings upon learning that they were worthless but as Cecil Adams from the Straight Dope points out:

economist John Kenneth Galbraith … in his book The Great Crash, 1929, first published in 1955. Studying U.S. death statistics, Galbraith found that while the U.S. suicide rate increased steadily between 1925 and 1932, during October and November of 1929 [The time frame of the crash] the number of suicides was disappointingly low.

Actual Color Photograph of Chrysler 75 Roadster

Actual Color Photograph of Chrysler 75 Roadster

Copy Right Info

This image is handled by CorbisImages.com, the photo website for the Corbis Images network. This image, Man Selling Roadster After Stock Market Crash, can be purchased from their website at corbisimages.com

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Painters on the Brooklyn Bridge

Behind the camera: Eugene de Salignac
Where: Brooklyn Bridge, New York
Photo Summary: Workers painting the bridge cables
Picture Taken: October 7, 1914

As the official photographer for the New York Department of Bridges from 1906 to 1934 Eugene de Salignac captured New York as it was transforming from a city packed with horses to one of towering sky scrappers and street cars. While documenting work on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge on September 22, 1914 Salignac took a photo of workers painting the bridge cables. This may have been the inspiration to return a month later, on October 7, 1914, when he took this posed image of workers ,arranged almost musically, on the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge — 31 years after it first opened.

Eugene de Salignac


Brooklyn Bridge showing system of painting bridge on cables on September 22, 1914

Brooklyn Bridge showing system of painting bridge on cables on September 22, 1914


Eugene de Salignac is a bit of a mystery to historians. Born in 1861 he was 42-years-old, in 1903, when he got a job as assistant to the photographer for the Department of Bridges, Joseph Palmer. When Palmer unexpectedly died three years later Salignac took over his job. For decades he took pictures documenting New York’s transformation from horse and buggy streets to the modern urban jungle we know now. Over the course of his career, he shot over 20,000 images. Yet for decades they sat in the city archives collecting dust.

No one knew of his work until 1999 when the senior curator at the New York City Municipal Archives, Michael Lorenzini, was spooling through the city’s huge collection of microfilm. Lorenzini started to notice that most of the images in the collection had the same style. This hunch led him to discover a series of numbers on the negatives that led to an epiphany, “It just kind of hit me: this is one guy; this is a great photographer.”

The scale of Eugene de Salignac’s work is massive with more and more pictures discovered all the time. Working until his retirement in 1932 he took thousands of images. New York has uploaded many of Salignac’s pictures on its Department of Records website.

In 1943 he passed away, at 82-years-old, without anyone knowing the immensely important legacy he left behind in the city archives.

After he was “discovered” by Lorenzini in 1999 there have been a number of shows and in 2007 Aperture Publishers released a book called New York Rises: Photographs by Eugene de Salignac with essays by Michael Lorenzini and photography scholar Kevin Moore.

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Reaching Out

Behind the camera: Larry Burrows
Where: Close to Hill 484, near the DMZ in South Vietnam
Photo Summary: Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie reaching out to a fellow Marine near Hill 484. On the far left is 19-year-old, Navy corpsman Ron Cook and the man whose hand is touching Purdie’s shoulder is 18-year-old Private Dan King.
Picture Taken: October 5, 1966

After a long battle the wounded American Marines of, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, lay in wait for medical evacuation on a muddy hill in Quang Tri Province, just below the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It was there that the Englishman Larry Burrows captured this image of wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie reaching out to a wounded comrade.

Taking the picture


On the far left of the picture is, then 19-year-old, Navy corpsman Ron Cook (Gary Landers photo)

On the far left of the picture is, then 19-year-old, Navy corpsman Ron Cook (Gary Landers photo)

In September of 1966, American Marines were ordered to two granite peaks, Hill 400 and Hill 484, in the forested region of Quang Tri Province, just below the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The North Vietnamese forces were crossing the border and the Marines were sent to engage them.

Ron Cook a corpsman assigned to Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment remembers how much his unit struggled not just against the enemy but the infamous non-combat horrors of Vietnam. Disease-carrying mosquitoes, huge leeches, poisonous snakes were always a danger and all the while the rain meant that everything was wet all the time. At just 19 he struggled with caring for so many wounded.

I think any corpsman that served in Vietnam will say we were kids taking care of kids. We were put under the most stressful situations. I mean, when you’re an 18-year-old kid and they hand you 56 Marines and say, “Here, keep them alive if you can; the ones you can’t, we’ll just tag and bag and send them home to their mothers,’ it’s a lot of responsibility for a kid.

After days of fighting Hill 400 was secured and the engineers carved out a landing pad between Hill 400 and 484, an area that was called Mutter’s Ridge. While other units pushed on, Ron Cook’s Kilo company stayed to evacuate the wounded and regroup. It was here that the quiet English journalist, Larry Burrows, was able to take some pictures of the men.

LIFE editors didn’t initially publish this image, instead printing other pictures Burrows had taken. It wasn’t until February 1971, that LIFE published the image in an article commemorating the photographer who had recently gone missing in Laos.

Larry Burrows


[bigquote quote=”He never got in the way. He never imposed, He blended into the background. He was very quiet. That’s why they called him ‘the compassionate photographer.'” author=”Ron Cook”]

Born in 1926 London Burrows dropped out of school to take a job at LIFE when he was just 16. He worked in the British photo labs during WWII and it is often rumored that it was he who was responsible for destroying Robert Capa’s D-Day negatives. After the war he became a photojournalist and arrived in Vietnam in 1962. He hoped to cover the Vietnam War until there was peace.

On February 10, 1971, four journalists (Kent Potter 23, Keisaburo Shimamoto 34, Henri Huet 43, Larry Burrows 44) were flying in a helicopter over Laos when they were shot down. After an extensive search, they were thought lost to the jungle. LIFE’s Managing Editor, Ralph Graves, wrote about the missing pilots who he thought had surely died in the crash:

I do not think it is demeaning to any other photographer in the world for me to say that Larry Burrows was the single bravest and most dedicated war photographer I know of. He spent nine years covering the Vietnam War under conditions of incredible danger, not just at odd times but over and over again. We kept thinking up other, safer stories for him to do, but he would do them and go back to the war. As he said, the war was his story, and he would see it through. His dream was to stay until he could photograph a Vietnam at peace.

It took until April of 2008 before the helicopter wreckage and the bodies were found.

Jeremiah Purdie

Born March 22, 1931, in Newport News Jeremiah Purdie was the baby of seven children and lost his mother, Annie Purdie, due to childbirth complications when he was only 3 weeks old. At just 17-years-old he joined the Marines and even fought a few weeks in the tail end of the Korean War. He served in Vietnam until he was forced out.

I was over there three times and I won three Purple Hearts, so they had to take me out, That’s the law — three Purple Hearts and you’re out.

He left the Marines in ’68 and found his way as a district manager for a shoe chain in Sacramento, California. He moved to the New Jersey for work and met his wife, Angel, in December 1969. He wrote a book ( The Journey That Brought Me to Glory: The Black Boy, the Marine, and the Christian) and found God, after a cancer scare, becoming an ordained deacon.

He died from heart failure at the age of 74 on May 06, 2005. In early May of 2014 former U.S. Postal Service member and 66 years-old Dan King was able to visit Purdie’s grave to his goodbyes, something he always dreamed of doing. Purdie’s family and members of his local Lumbee Warriors Association were able to join him.

Getty copyright


This picture is owned by Getty by Larry Burrows

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The Milkman

Behind the camera: Fred Morley
Where: Streets of London
Photo Summary: A man carries the milk over rubble while firefighters battle the aftermath of the 32nd straight night of bombing
Picture Taken: October 9, 1940
Published October 10, 1940

During the opening years of World War II Britain was all that was left against Hitler’s military Juggernaut. France had already surrendered and continental Europe was under Germany’s control. Hitler, through a massive bombing campaign, hoped to either knock the UK out of the war or destroy its air force in preparation for invasion.  The bombing campaign starting in 1940, until Hitler withdrew his planes in preparation for the invasion of the USSR in 1941, was nicknamed the Blitz by the British and was an almost daily aerial bombardment of the United Kingdom. Many iconic photos emerged from the Blitz and the Battle of Britain.  The most famous was captured during the December 29, 1940, raid when a Daily Mail reporter snapped what at the time was called the “War’s greatest picture.” While this was the most famous, one of the more memorable photos was this Milkman Photo taken by Fred Morley on October 9, 1940, and then published the next day on October 10, 1940.

Staged Image?

Fred Morley on the right takes on Aussie, the boxing kangaroo in London's Trafalgar Square, August 31, 1931

Fred Morley on the right takes on Aussie, the boxing kangaroo in London’s Trafalgar Square

October 9th marked the 32nd day of straight bombing raids against the United Kingdom. The nighttime raid of October 9th raid infamously struck the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral but luckily the bomb did not detonate. Photographers stationed in London were amazed at the total destruction wrought by German bombers yet their pictures were routinely blocked by the censors who were anxious not to cause a panic. Fred Morley wanting to get some sort of record of the devastation out to the world thought of a situation that the censors would approve. He first found a backdrop of firefighters struggling to contain a fire then he borrowed a milkman’s outfit and a craft of bottles.  He then got his assistant to pose among the ruins of a city street while the firefighters fought in the background. The photo pushed forward the idea of the stoic British continuing on with their normal lives.  The censors felt the same way and it was published the very next day.

Fred Morley

Morley first joined Fox Photos company in January 1926 and in 1951 Fox Photos’ directors Dick Fox and Reg Salmon marked his silver jubilee with a special wristwatch for 25 years’ service with the company. Fred Morley in addition to being a celebrated photojournalist, toured the world capturing beautiful day to day life wherever he went.


Copyright Info

Copyright enquiries can be directed to Getty via Delivery After Raid by Fred Morley

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Rita Hayworth Pinup

Behind the camera: Bob Landry
Where: Bed made up with satin sheets
Photo Summary: Rita Hayworth promoting the movie ‘You’ll Never Get Rich’
Picture Taken: Summer of 1941, August 11th edition of LIFE

In 1941 the American people, for the most part, wanted to stay out of the war raging in Europe. While the Axis and Allies fought it out in North Africa, in the USA life continued as usual. Factories produced, farmers farmed and Hollywood pumped out movies. LIFE magazine in cooperation with the movie studios would often do photo shoots of upcoming stars to promote their movies. In 1941 Rita Hayworth was making You’ll Never Get Rich and so in its August 11, 1941 edition, LIFE did a photo spread for the movie. A few months later the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor dragging America into WWII. As young Americans left for combat they grabbed Hayworth’s picture to keep them company, by the end of the war over 5 million copies were printed making it one of the most famous pictures of the war, second only to Betty Grable’s Pinup. In December of 2002 the dress she wore in the picture sold at Sothebys for $26,887 USD.

Life Magazine

In the 1940s LIFE magazine was a huge platform for Hollywood to advertise its upcoming releases. Movies it spotlighted would drive the crowds into the theaters. Columbia Pictures was able to successfully lobby to have its upcoming movie, You’ll Never Get Rich featured in the August 11, 1941 of LIFE Magazine.

Taking the Picture

John G. Morris in his book “Get the Picture: A Personal History of Photojournalism” remembers:

One day, a Columbia Pictures press agent named Magda Maskel suggested photographing Rita Hayworth in a black lace nightgown that Maskel’s mother had made. [Life’s Hollywood correspondent, Richard] Pollard and photographer Bob Landry met Maskel at Hayworth’s apartment. She knelt on a bed in the nightie, looking provocative, and Landry snapped away. Good, but something else might be done. Pollard spoke up: “Rita, take a deep breath.” That was it. The perfect frame. — John G. Morris Photo editor

Bob Landry

After doing Hayworth’s photo spread Landry was still a new photographer in the business and so he was sent to report on American naval exercises in the Pacific in December of 1941. While the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor Bob Landry was only 100 miles (160 km) out from the naval base. He was one of the first reporters to witness the carnage of the attack, but a lot of the photos he took were delayed for months due to censorship concerns. During the war, Landry would shoot five LIFE covers during his first year with the magazine.

Rita Hayworth

Hayworth was actually signed with Fox Studios for several months under the name of Rita Cansino before after six months Fox dropped her. She did a number of independent films before catching the eye of Columbia Pictures who signed her in the 1930s. Her break out role was a minor part in Only Angels Have Wings. As her popularity peaked in the late 40s on May 27, 1949 she married the British based Prince Ali Salman Aga Khan a son of Aga Khan III, then the head of the Ismaili Muslims. Their wedding, her third including one to Orson Welles, was a huge affair that captured the world’s attention. It soon dissolved in 1953 and she returned to film work, her career went well into the 70s when she started showing signs of dementia, doing her last movie, The Wrath of God in 1972.

After having trouble remembering simple things about her life she was told by doctors that she had Alzheimer’s disease. Her celebrity brought a lot of attention and research funding for, what was then little-understood disease. When she died on May 14, 1987, President Reagan (not yet diagnosed himself) praised her contribution and brave face towards the disease. In a moment of lucid thought, she once told an interviewer, “whatever you write about me, don’t make it sad.”

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