Friday, August 25, 2006

Joe Rosenthal, 1911-2006

The truly great passions of my life include history and photography. I also regard courage as the pinnacle of human virtues, and I respect and admire genuine patriotism (as opposed to the all-too-common jingoistic counterfeit, which gives true patriotism a bad name.) And so it was with sadness that I noted the passing earlier this week of Joe Rosenthal, the Associated Press photographer who on February 23, 1945 -- the fourth day of the Battle of Iwo Jima -- captured the above image. It won a Pulitzer Prize that year, and in my view, nobody before or since has ever deserved the award more.

Today this is almost certainly the most famous war photograph, and arguably the most famous photograph of any kind, ever taken. The image has become a cultural icon, and incorporates all of the things I appreciate and revere that are included in my short list posted above. The Marine Corps Memorial, across the Potomac from Washington, is based on this photograph, and it is worth noting that three of the participants in this flag-raising did not survive the battle.

Joe Rosenthal is gone now, and there are many other great photographers and photojournalists in the world, but it is hard to imagine any of them ever being able to capture a moment as splendid and inspiring as this one. This one image ensures him a sort of earthly immortality, and doubtless the eternal variety has by now enabled his reunion with the five Marines and one Navy corpsman whose valor he enshrined for the ages. Requiescat in pace.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Billy Graham: The lion in winter

Kudos to Julie at Happy Catholic for bringing this to my attention when I visited her blog yesterday. This article, which appears in the current edition of Newsweek, is a sympathetic and well-written portrait of Billy Graham, now in the twilight of his remarkable life at age 87. I have always respected and admired Dr. Graham, who probably influenced my own religious experience more than any mortal man outside the Mormon world I have lived in since my teens. And parenthetically, this might be an appropriate time and place to recommend his autobiography, Just As I Am, to one and all. I read it myself several years ago, and will probably read it again sometime.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Meet Yo-yo

Yo-yo in his new cage (3)
Originally uploaded by gwilmore.
This is Yo-yo, who has been part of our family for three months now, but has the distinction of being the latest of our pet birds to be photographed. The reason for that, as well as for the fact that he is photographed inside his cage, is explained in the description accompanying the photo. Read it and learn why a good part of this Saturday has been dominated by our cockatiels.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Heaven: A map

Heaven: A map
Originally uploaded by gwilmore.
Where I hope to spend a happy and interesting afterlife. Click on the photo and read the description I wrote for it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A brief intermission

Sunset in a hurry 3
Originally uploaded by gwilmore.
I haven't posted anything to this blog lately, but that is only because I am waiting for the spirit of pontification to descend upon me once again, as it surely will. Meanwhile, I post this image of tonight's sunset, partly for your enjoyment and edification, and partly to reassure the few people who visit this site regularly that I am alive and well, and that there is no reason for anyone to be concerned over my absence.

This, by the way, is probably one of the most dramatic sunset images I have ever captured, at least thus far. Enjoy!