A picture represents a moment in history that cannot be authentically recreated. To catch an action, an image, or an emotion by film is truly a special gift and one which most people take for granted. For an image to capture a moment that simultaneously speaks for one person, a nation, and a cause is really “worth a thousand words” as Neil Postman puts it (515), even a million. It is irreplaceable by anything other than understanding, appreciation, and wonder. Three memorable photographs that embody these assets are those of five members of the British Royal Family walking behind Princess Diana’s coffin, Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, and American soldiers raising the flag atop a mountain in Iwo Jima, Japan. These unforgettable pictures clearly show us that when photographs express something so memorable they could never be erased from our minds.
The first picture, one of the most notable moments captured by film in the latter half of the twentieth century, is that of Prince Charles, the Earl Spencer, Prince Philip, Prince William, and Prince Harry walking behind Princess Diana’s coffin during her burial ceremony. The world mourned with them as they respectfully bowed their heads, slowly walking with eyes glazed over on that poignant day. For instance, the facial expression of Prince Charles, Princess Diana’s ex- husband, was one of detached sorrow. Anyone watching his face could see that he was no longer deeply attached to Princess Diana, as he had been while they were married. Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, was clearly saddened by Diana’s death but, just like Prince Charles, did not convey the deep feelings of remorse and pain as Diana’s brot...
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...lings of that one moment in which it was taken, whether that is sadness, wonder, or hope; it speaks to all who look at it and, in doing so, remains indelibly in our memories.
Landsberg, Mitchell. “Fifty Years Later, Iwo Jima Photographer Fights His Own Battle.” 05 October 2003. http://www.ap.org/pages/rosenthal.html.
Postman, Neil. “Images: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.” The Presence of Others. 3rd ed. Ed. Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000. 513-530.
Stephens, Mitchell. “‘By Means of the Visible’: A Picture’s Worth.” The Presence of Others. 3rd ed. Ed. Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000. 473-486.
“Today’s Speeches: Neil A. Armstrong, U.S. Astronaut, Walks on the Moon.” History Channel.com. 9 Oct. 2003.
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