Soweto uprising

Behind the camera: Sam Nzima
Where: On the corner of Moema and Vilakazi Streets in Orlando West, Soweto, City of Johannesburg, South Africa; near Phefeni High School
Photo Summary: A wounded Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo while his sister, Antoinette, runs beside them
Picture Taken: June 16, 1976

Black students in parts of South Africa were required by law to be taught in a mix of Afrikaans, English and native languages. On June 16, 1976, thousands of Students fed up with having to learn, what they viewed as the language of their Apartheid oppressor, Afrikaans, spilled out onto the streets in protest. Police tried to block the protest and events spun out of control leading to the police opening fire on the unarmed students. One of the first to be shot was Hector Pieterson. As his sister screamed in horror another student Mbuyisa Makhubo picked him up and carried him to a nearby car. A moment which was captured when photographer Sam Nzima took this iconic shot. Pieterson was pronounced dead on arrival when he got to the hospital.

Soweto Uprising

According to the South African constitution, the two official languages of South Africa were English and Afrikaans, a form of Dutch used by white South Africans. In 1974 it was ordered that Black schools in Soweto would have to teach part of their subjects in Afrikaans because as described by the South African education minister

“A Black man may be trained to work on a farm or in a factory. He may work for an employer who is either English-speaking or Afrikaans-speaking and the man who has to give him instructions may be either English-speaking or Afrikaans-speaking. Why should we now start quarrelling about the medium of instruction among the Black people as well? … No, I have not consulted them and I am not going to consult them. I have consulted the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa …” — Punt Janson, the Deputy Minister of Bantu Education

This caused incredible friction in the school system as the students would have preferred to learn English and their native tongues rather than the language of their Apartheid oppressors. Protests started to spring up Soweto area, and students formed committees who secretly planned to stage a mass walk out on June 16, 1976. Secretly planned the walkout surprised teachers and police alike. While marching the mass of young students came upon a police barricade. While organizers tried to move the protest in a different direction, stones were thrown. In response the police let their dogs attack the students. The students responded by stoning the dogs and then the police opened fire with live ammunition. The full number killed in the resulting riots is thought to be in the hundreds while over a thousand more were wounded, one of which was Hector Pieterson. Pieterson is often quoted as being the first killed but almost at the same time another child was shot and killed, Hastings Ndlovu.

Pieterson family

The Pieterson family was originally the named the Pitso family but their father changed their name to Pieterson in hopes of passing as colored, which in Apartheid South Africa allowed for more job opportunities. Born Zolile Hector Pitso, Hector Pieterson, wasn’t even supposed to be in the protest that day. At 13 years old and an elementary student the student planners didn’t want the young students to be involved. Yet he snuck out of school and followed his older sister, 16-year-old Antoinette Pieterson, in the march. After the police started shooting it was chaos. Antoinette remembers what happened next:

“I came out of hiding and saw Hector, and I called him to me. He was looking around as I called his name, trying to see who was calling him. I waved at him, he saw me and came over. I asked him what he was doing there … There was a shot, and I ran back to my hiding place. When I looked out I couldn’t see Hector; I waited, I was afraid; where was he?

“Then I saw a group of boys struggling. This gentleman came from nowhere, lifted a body, and I saw the front part of the shoe, which I recognized as Hector’s. This man started to run with the body, I ran alongside.” — Antoinette Sithole

After the picture spread worldwide the Pieterson family were harassed by the apartheid authorities. They wouldn’t even let the Pieterson’s body out of the government possession.

Hector died on the 16th of June 1976 but he was buried on the 3rd of July because the police didn’t allow us to bury him. They would give funny and stupid reasons … Anyway my grandmother knew Afrikaans very well, so it was easy for her to talk to them … “So you’ve killed my grandson, now you’re giving us rules, it’s better to kill us all.” That is how the day came for us to bury Hector. — Antoinette Sithole

Antoinette was married off a year later, by her family, to offer her more protection but the marriage didn’t last. She remarried to Meshak Sithole and after Apartheid fell found a job at the Hector Pieterson museum giving tours around where her brother was famously killed.

Mbuyisa Makhubo

The boy who picked up Hector was 18-year old Mbuyisa Makhubo. Nzima captured on film Makhubo carrying the boy to Nazima’s car where Nazima and another journalist raced Hector to a clinic where he was pronounced dead. After the photo became famous Makhubo was harassed by Apartheid officials and he was forced to go into exile. First to Botswana, then spending time in Nigeria from which he wrote his mother a few letters. In one letter from Nigeria, he said he would go to Tanzania because he was very sick and the situation in Nigeria was deteriorating. The last letter his mother got was in 1978 after which he simply disappeared off the face of the earth.

Sam Nzima


Sam Nzima

Sam Nzima posing with his famous image

Journalist Sam Nzima started his photojournalism career travelling and taking pictures while he bused around South Africa. He sent his photo essay to the black newspaper, The World, who was impressed by his work and offered him a freelance position at their paper. In 1968 he was offered a full-time position and was working for The World in ’76. He arrived in Soweto early that morning in June 1976 to find students peacefully making signs that denounced the apartheid system. When the protests started to turn ugly and police opened fire Nzima took six pictures of Makhubo carrying Hector. Knowing he had important shots he hid the roll of film in his sock. He remembers that,

“So I quickly gave the film to our driver and told him to go straight to our office. By the afternoon the image had been transmitted worldwide.”

Later he was stopped by police and forced to open his camera and expose other photos he had taken of the protests. Later after multiple police threats and fearing for his life he fled to his hometown Lillydale, close to the Mozambican border. There he opened the Nzima Bottle Store even though he was offered multiple journalist jobs he turned them all down out of fear the Apartheid police would kill him. In 1998 after years of legal battles The Star newspaper, who had ended up with the copyright, gave him the rights to his image.

In 2011 he was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, an award for those that excel in the arts, by the South African government.
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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 kilometers (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 kilometers (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 a simply a large mountain similar to mesa’s found in Arizona deserts. The low image resolution of 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 to 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.
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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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Tennis Girl

Behind the camera: Martin Elliot
Where: Birmingham University’s tennis courts in Edgbaston, United Kingdom
Photo Summary: Then 18-year-old Fiona Butler (Married and now Fiona Walker)
Picture Taken: September of 1976

In September of 1976 aspiring photographer, Martin Elliot convinced, his then-girlfriend, Fiona Butler to pose for a series of cheeky pictures in hopes of creating the next big pinup poster. He took a couple of shots and sold this image to publishing giant Athena. The poster went on to sell 2 million copies. In response to famous British film and television critic George Melly calling the poster a “schoolboy joke” Martin Elliot replied, “that’s just what it was.”

Taking the photo

In 2011 Fiona Butler finally agreed to show her face


In 1976 Martin Elliot was dating 18-year-old Fiona Butler. Anxious to help out her photographer boyfriend she agreed to pose for some photos at the Birmingham University’s tennis courts in Edgbaston, central England. Fiona didn’t actually play tennis and had to borrow the tennis racket and Eliot had their tailor friend, Carol Knotts, design and create a sexy tennis dress. In a 2007 interview, Fiona recalled that she:

can remember the day quite clearly … When the picture got so popular I was quite amused that something taken that afternoon could get so big. It became one of those pictures that everyone knows and everyone’s seen. It gave me quite a buzz because I could secretly smile and say ‘no you’re wrong’, every time someone guessed.

I remember going to a party with my husband and people were saying ‘is that the girl in the photograph?’. They looked me up and down and said ‘I don’t think so’ I’ve got no objections to it whatsoever. My children have never been upset about it. It’s really nothing that anyone could be offended by. It’s just a bit of fun. I think it was banned in a couple of countries but really I don’t think there was anything to get upset about.

The poster has become such a cultural icon that when Fiona went on to marry, millionaire Ian Walker, and have kids her son’s headmaster confided in her that he had the poster on his wall while in University.

The poster

Publishing giant Athena bought the rights for the poster and released the first print in a calendar for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. The calendar was released the same year Virginia Wade won the Wimbledon singles title. Due to the popularity of the calendar, Athena published a poster and these combined factors pushed the poster into mass production and it eventually went on to sell over 2 million copies.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the photo the tennis outfit and racket were sold on Internet auction site eBay on June 16, 2006. Some of the proceeds of the sale went to the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust, a disabled children charity. The remaining went to the dress designer Carol Knotts’ attempt to take part in the Global Challenge round-the-world yacht race in 2008.

Imitators

For British male comedians, it’s almost like a right of passage to imitate this image with celebs like Alan Carr, Frank Skinner, and Ricky Gervais exposing their backsides. I’ll spare you their pictures but I’ll include this one of singer, and all around superstar, Kylie Minogue.

The Photographer

Originally from Oldbury, Martin Elliot was in the Birmingham School of Photography program and after graduating had a successful career with a studio in Birmingham’s Jewelry Quarter; living in Stourbridge and Portishead. In later life when doing interviews he would remember that he took the shot during “an afternoon in September at the end of the long hot summer. It was over very quickly. I only took one roll of film, which is pretty feeble for a photographer and I just hoped I’d got the shot.”

In 1999 he retired and lived in Cornwall before losing a 10-year battle to cancer in April 2010.

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Farrah Fawcett – Swimsuit Poster

Behind the camera: Bruce McBroom
Where: Farrah Fawcett’s home in Bel Air, California
Photo Summary: Farrah Fawcett in a red swimsuit
Picture Taken: Summer of 1976 poster released in Sept of same year

During World War II Betty Grable was the pin-up queen. After the war, the title was passed from various Hollywood bombshell to Hollywood bombshell but Farrah Fawcett ruled the 70’s. This poster which was released the same year as when she played Jill Munroe on the TV show Charlie’s Angels went on to sell a record 12 million copies making it one of the most famous pin-ups ever.

Pro Arts Inc.

Mike and Ted Trikilis dropped out of Kent State in 1967 to open an art gallery that sold posters. A shipment of anti-war posters soon became their number one breadwinner and so they sold the store and became the Pro Arts Inc. Ohio’s number one and only Distributor of Youth-Oriented Posters. They struggled for a few years but then a poster of the Fonz sold more than a quarter-million copies which bumped Pro Arts in the big leagues.
In April of 1976, Ted was working on his farm with the neighbor’s son Pat Partridge when Pat mentioned that if he running Pro Arts he would make a poster of Farrah Fawcett. He admitted that he and his friends had been buying women’s magazines just to get pictures of her from the Wella Balsam shampoo ads. Ted had never heard of Farrah but knew that if students were using ads of her then a poster would be a big seller. He soon got in touch with Fawcett’s agent Rick Hersh and tried to get a deal. After Ted finished talking Hersh was puzzled and asked, “What type of product is Farrah to be selling on the poster?” “We want to sell Farrah on the Farrah poster,” Ted explained.
Hersh passed the idea on to Farrah who thought it was “cute” and said she had a photographer she likes to work with.

Taking the picture



When the photo was taken Farrah Fawcett was still an unknown actress wanting to make it big. She hadn’t yet signed on for her hit show Charlie’s Angels but got some work doing commercials. Bruce McBroom a freelance photographer had worked with Farrah before and so Pro Arts agreed to hire him for the shoot. They wanted a bikini shot of the blond beauty.
The shoot was at Farrah’s Bel Air, Calif., home of her and then-husband, actor Lee Majors. She did her own hair and they took the photos behind the home by their pool. She modelled several different swimsuits but McBroom didn’t get excited about any of the pictures he shot. When she came down in the now famous red one-piece swimsuit to cover a childhood scar on her stomach McBroom knew he had something. For the backdrop McBroom grabbed the old Indian Blanket covering his car seat and hung it up, “I should have told people I styled this,” McBroom says, “but the truth is it came off the front seat of my ’37 Chevy.”
He took a number of shots, using his Nikon, including a sultry Farrah eating a cookie but Farrah chose the final frame that would make her one of the most famous people of the ’70s. In the early summer of ’76 McBroom sent a package of 25 shots of Farrah indicating which one Farrah wanted to use.
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I’ve since heard that when the guy in Cleveland got the pictures, he went, “First of all, where’s the bikini?” He told me he wasn’t ever gonna pay me, because he hated the pictures. But I guess he showed them around to people in his business and they changed his mind. It was Farrah’s pose, Farrah’s suit, Farrah’s idea. She picked that shot. She made a lot of money for him and for herself, and made me semifamous.
–McBroom

McBroom was paid $1000 for the assignment but is happy to be associated with such a cultural icon. In 2006 on the 30th anniversary of the image, Fawcett said: “I was a little self-conscious [of the image], probably because my smile is so big, but it always more ‘me’ than any other photograph out there.”
Ice Used?

[bigquote quote=”It was all Farrah” author=”McBroom”]
Legend has grown around Farrah’s prominent features and that she used ice but the photographer, McBroom has always dispelled the rumour saying, “It was all Farrah,”.

Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett (born Ferrah Leni Fawcett on February 2, 1947) in Corpus Christi, Texas to James William Fawcett and Pauline Alice Evans. She is the second of 2 daughters. Her older sister, Diane, passed away from lung cancer in 1998. As a child, Farrah displayed a natural athletic ability which her father encouraged. She was raised Roman Catholic. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.
In 1976, Fawcett played the character of Jill Munroe for one year in the successful TV series Charlie’s Angels. She was paid $5,000 an episode but with the popularity of the poster earned $400,000 in royalties. She broke her contract and left the show after one season. As settlement to a lawsuit stemming from her early departure, Fawcett appeared six more times as a guest star in seasons three and four.
Fawcett went on to receive achieve critical praise and her first of three Emmy Award nominations as a serious actress for her role as a battered wife in the 1984 television movie The Burning Bed. She also won acclaim in the stage and movie version of Extremities, in which she played a rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker. She then played a predatory role in another miniseries, Small Sacrifices, receiving a second Emmy nomination. Her third Emmy nomination came in 2004 for her work in The Guardian. Fawcett has been nominated for several others awards as well including the Golden Globe Award and ACE awards.
Fawcett posed in the December 1995 issue of Playboy, which became the best-selling issue of the 1990s, with over 4 million copies sold worldwide. She later posed for the July 1997 issue, which also became a top seller.
Farrah Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. At approximately 9:28 a.m., PDT on June 25, 2009, in the intensive care unit of Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with cancer.

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