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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
WWII photographer Rosenthal dies

Joe Rosenthal - the man who took the iconic photograph of six US WWII troops raising their country's flag over Iwo Jima - has died aged 94.

His daughter said he had died in San Francisco of natural causes.

Mr Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize for the 1945 flag-raising photo, which later served as a model for the Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

The picture was taken on 23 February, four days after US troops landed on the small strategic Pacific island.

The scene captured by Mr Rosenthal shows the second flag-raising on Mount Suribachi that day.

The photographer always denied suggestions the picture had been staged.

Joe Rosenthal in front of the Marine Corps Memorial in 1995
Joe Rosenthal witnessed many WWII battles
Ten years after the event, he wrote that, on learning that a flag had already been raised, he had been about to desist from climbing to the summit.

But he pushed on.

"Out of the corner of my eye... I had seen the men start the flag up. I swung my camera, and shot the scene," he wrote in Collier's magazine.

He filed the picture for the Associated Press, which had sent him to cover battle areas in 1944.

"Millions of Americans saw this picture five or six days before I did, and when I first heard about it, I had no idea what picture was meant," he later said, recalling the impact the photograph caused.

The picture was used on posters, a war-bond drive and a US postage stamp.


Born in Washington DC in 1911, Mr Rosenthal first took up photography as a hobby.

During the Depression, he moved to San Francisco, where in 1930 he found a newspaper job.

In 1932, he began working for the San Francisco News as reporter and photographer - a job that was to be followed by several posts at picture and news agencies.

After working for AP in WWII - during which he saw action close up - Mr Rosenthal joined the San Francisco Chronicle. He stayed there for 35 years.

He is reported to have made less than $10,000 (5,300) from what is widely considered to be one of the most famous photographs of the war.

"And I was gratified to get that," the San Francisco Chronicle quotes him as saying in a 1995 interview.

"Every once in a while someone teases me that I could have been rich. But I'm alive. A lot of the men who were there are not. And a lot of them were badly wounded. I was not. And so I don't have the feeling someone owes me for this."


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