Does anybody happen to know anything about this set of pictures? (Hit "Slideshow" in the upper left for a full-screen tour.)
I got an excited email last night from Tom Brenholts, who wrote, "I've been a WW2 history nut for about 40 years (I'm 55). I've never seen these shots before, and they are some of the best WW2 photos I've ever seen. Man, these are great photos."
As far as I can tell, the photographs, many of which are comprehensively captioned (though not this one), are all from Iwo Jima and were all uploaded by someone named Mark. That's it. No more information given that I can find.
Tom thinks they're all by the same photographer; I'm not so sure. One giveaway is the presence in the set of Joe Rosenthal's famous flag-raising picture. Does that mean the rest of the pictures are Rosenthal's, too? Or are these shots just collected from various archives, united only by being from Iwo Jima?
I have to admit I'm vaguely troubled by things like this. Anybody can put up anything on the web without explanation or attribution, that they get from anywhere, whether they have the right to or not. (For that matter I wonder how many of the millions of "photographer's portfolios" are actually collections of other people's pictures, found here and there and merely collected?) Then again it's possible this is a semi-private gallery of work that is explained elsewhere and linked to, of work that the poster has full rights to—maybe even of work that's never been published before, as Tom thinks. A son publishing work by his father, perhaps. If it's previously unpublished work, that would be good to know.
Nothing I say is going to change anything. But the editor in me wants things properly labeled—what's not known as well as what's known, so we...know. In my random odysseys across the web I sometimes wonder how much of humanity's collected knowledge and evidence is fated to become part of a vast junk bin, like data on a hard drive that's not tagged and accessible only at random.
UPDATE from Mark Stevens: "I never thought a few photos would cause such a sensation. I originally posted some Iwo Jima photos for a P-51 pilot I know. We are traveling to Iwo Jima next month together and he wanted some photos to show some. Many were personal photos from pilots. Somehow the link got out and everyone was looking at them. At that point I made the site public and took off all but Air Force National Archive photos. I will update the photos to put captions on all of them. The title of the photos gives the NARA photo number. I am not trying to hide anything. I have spent weeks at the National Archives and have scanned thousands of photos relevant to the 20th Air Force and 7th Fighter Command. Lower resolution versions (72 dpi) can be found on Footnote as well. So I hope that solves the mystery.
President and Historian
7th Fighter Command Association