On the (Ab)use of Iconic Images


General Photography

An interesting (ab)use of an iconic image was pointed out to me by Tom O’Doherty, who found the following in a lengthy New York Times Magazine article about the American religious right: “Later, as a choir in stars-and-stripes neckties and scarves belted out ‘Stars and Stripes Forever,’ a cluster of men in olive military fatigues took the stage carrying a flag. They lifted the pole to a 45-degree angle and froze in place around it: a re-enactment of the famous photograph of the American triumph at Iwo Jima. The narrator of a preceding video montage had already set the stage by comparing the Iwo Jima flag raising to another long-ago turning point in a ‘fierce battle for the hearts of men’ - the day 2,000 years ago when ‘a heavy cross was lifted up on top of the mount called Golgotha.’ A battle flag as the crucifixion: the church rose to a standing ovation.” What a weird mix of photography, propaganda, and kitsch! A better person than me to comment on this would probably be Jim, though.