Sunday Seven - Episode #310

Remember the shot of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square on V-J Day in World War II? Or the shot of little John-John salting the casket of his father, President Kennedy, as the funeral procession passed by? Or the shot of the green-eyed woman whose gaze captured the imagination of readers of National Geographic?

They are iconic images — some amusing, some tragic — that nearly everyone has seen at one point or another.
Can you name what you’d consider to be the most iconic?

Here are a few lists that may help you come up with your seven. Note: Some images are graphic and may be disturbing. Follow the links at your own risk.

That’s the challenge for this week.
  • Be sure to check back this week and click on the links of bloggers who play along in the comments below! It’s a great way to find blogs you may not have visited and to keep the conversation going!
Here is this week’s “Sunday Seven” question. Either answer in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your blog (with a link here), and then comment here with a link back to your blog so that everyone else can visit! Permission is not granted to copy the questions to message boards for the purpose of having members answer and play along there. Enjoy!

Name your seven favorite iconic photographs of all time.

1. I know the first one, no problem, without looking at any list. The black & white photo of the sailor kissing a woman on the street after returning home from World War II. How anyone isn't affected by this photo is a mystery to me. The relief, the joy, the happiness - the "thank the gods it's over" attitude that they have. It all says that. It says a lot more than that, too. It's the magic that anyone who has survived war or some truly traumatic experience has - we are all interesting people, but there are people who survived the Germans invading their country; the fight between Germany and the other countries; the occupation; V-Day. There is nothing about that photo that is just a sailor kissing a young woman in the street.

2. Albert Einstein in 1951, sticking his tongue out, a delightful image. To me it makes an obvious statement: scientists can have fun, too. Albert Einstein is someone I would have loved to have met and had tea with or interviewed for a week - an afternoon would not have been enough. But I would have enjoyed meeting him terribly. His life experiences, his moment of realising the discoveries he made, what he did to relax, what he did when he was "stuck" while working with ideas. He must have been a lot of fun, looking at this image. I'm the first to know that scientists are normal people who laugh and love and have other things on their minds aside from their work or projects. Here's the living proof.

3. The Earth Rising in 1969: you know how I feel about space travel - bring 'em on! The world needs more images like this, especially before we destroy it. It looks so lovely, full of colour, and shows the richness of the world that is ours to keep its care. We'll turn it brown if we keep it as we are. Someone should see the magic in it. I see the magic in the world - all of it - the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, etc. But then to see our home like this - well... what's not to love? The magic is everywhere, but there is no place like home. No place like home... no place like home... tap, tap, tap.

4. The Falling Man (2001): There are few things more horrible than the ones you know. The experience that rips out your heart but you do begin to heal at some point. After ten years, I have come to some terms with living through the 9-11 disaster of 2001... sort of. I won't watch the crap on the television to commemorate it. But I remember seeing all of it happen that day. I will never be the same for it.

I still hold to the belief that having this made a 'holiday' is just wrong. It is the moments of triumph that should be celebrated as holidays, not the moments of death and destruction; not the disasters; not having all our phone calls monitored by the government to make sure that nothing ever happens to the United States again. But there will always be angry people who hate us for moving into their countries; butting into their lives; destroying their cities. Sometimes retribution is normal for humans - and sometimes, they are going to exact it on us. We slept secure in the knowledge that no one has successfully attacked the United States until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour in 1944. We all slept secure in the knowledge that no one has successfully launched a terrorist campaign in the United States. Now we know better. When will we sleep secure in the knowledge that nothing will happen to us? Hopefully never. No one should think that they are untouchable. Because no one IS untouchable.

5. This is one image that haunts me all the time. I read a lot about the second World War and the atrocities that Hitler and Stalin committed. These men systematically killed over 30 million people. What about them should have survived anything? And Hitler was smart enough to kill himself to escape the consequences of the survivors, not to mention the leaders of the Allies who would have gladly had his hide for pot-scouring rag. I would have, as well. He needed to answer for his crimes against the humanities and he did not. Plenty of others high up in the Nazi regime did, which was something... but not the same. Look at Hussein Saddam - who didn't cheer when he was killed for his crimes - against his own peoples as well as ours and so many others.

6. Ah, yes, the days before OSHA and workplace safety. I forget what the total was for men killed on this job, but there were many. And look at this. I suppose anyone can get rather blase about the place they work, but so contented that they sit up on these I-beams and eat their lunch as if there was not an unbelievable fall at the end of it? Yowza. I may be anti-union now (they really have outlived their usefullness in some ways as I see it) but there was a time when they really did provide the most incredible protection and services to the public and to the workers. This illustrates this more clearly than anything else does. (And hear they are grabbing a cat-nap! Yikes!)

7. Last but not least: Dalí Atomicus. If you are sitting there, saying to yourself, what the f--heck is this, well, I would not be able to do it justice that this description does:

Philippe Halsman is quite possibly the only photographer to have made a career out of taking portraits of people jumping. But he claimed the act of leaping revealed his subjects’ true selves, and looking at his most famous jump, "Dalí Atomicus," it’s pretty hard to disagree.

The photograph is Halsman’s homage both to the new atomic age (prompted by physicist’ then-recent announcement that all matter hangs in a constant state of suspension) and to Dalí’s surrealist masterpiece "Leda Atomica" (seen on the right, behind the cats, and unfinished at the time). It took six hours, 28 jumps, and a roomful of assistants throwing angry cats and buckets of water into the air to get the perfect exposure.

But before settling on the "Atomicus" we know today, Halsman rejected a number of other concepts for the shot. One was the idea of throwing milk instead of water, but that was abandoned for fear that viewers, fresh from the privations of World War II, would condemn it as a waste of milk. Another involved exploding a cat in order to capture it "in suspension," though that arguably would have been a waste of cats. (Blogmaster's note: Yikes...)

Halsman’s methods were as unique as they were effective. His celebrity "jump" portraits appeared on at least seven Life magazine covers and helped usher in a new – and radically more adventurous – era of portrait photography.

Either answer the question in a comment or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment.

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