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Eastwood's Iwo JimaCritical Engagements with Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima$
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Anne Gjelsvik and Rikke Schubart

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165655

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165655.001.0001

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The Making and Remakings of an American Icon

The Making and Remakings of an American Icon

‘Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima’ from Photojournalism to Global, Digital Media

(p.15) The Making and Remakings of an American Icon
Eastwood's Iwo Jima

Mette Mortensen

Columbia University Press

This chapter traces the history of Joe Rosenthal’s photograph, “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,” from the first symbolic moment in World War II atop Mount Suribachi to the restaging and remaking of the “Iwo Jima” tableau during the “War on Terror,” both at Ground Zero and in Afghanistan. Rosenthal’s photo depicts the second flag raising on Iwo Jima, taken on February 23, 1945. Asking what an icon is and what powers it holds, the essay sheds light on questions of authenticity, symbol, and myth, in relation not only to Rosenthal’s photo but also to photojournalism and documentation of war in general. It highlights themes such as the complexity of history, war, heroism, patriotism, memory, and the process of their representation.

Keywords:   military history, Joe Rosenthal, photograph, World War II, Iwo Jima, flag raising, photojournalism, heroism, patriotism, icon

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