The idea of using visuals as an element of communication involves the encoding and decoding of messages contained in the visual image. Such that photojournalistic images provide various ways for us to understand our surroundings values and history. According to Wikipedia, the Iwo Jima photo is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945 by Joe Rosenthal. It shows five us marines and one U.S navy corpsman raising the flag of the U.S on top of mountain Suribachi a dormant volcanic cone located on the Iwo Jima Island. During the Iwo Jima battle in ww2.this photo evoked a lot of tension in the U.S considering the fact that it was picked up and printed by hundreds of newspapers within eighteen and a half hours after it was shot. According to the technology then, this was a very high speed. This photo was not without misinterpretations as president Franklin Roosevelt on seeing this photo realized that it would be perfect to lay the ground as a symbol for the impending 7th war bond drive and used it to raise more money than they had expected.
According to Harriman and Lucaites iconic photographs. Iconic photographs: "reflect social knowledge and dominant ideologies; shape understanding of specific events and periods; influence potential action by modeling relationships between civic actors; provide figural resources for subsequent communicative action; and provide resources for thought and feeling necessary to constitute people as citizens and motivate their identification with and participation in specific forms of collective life."
Hariman and Lucaites present a strong case in the presentation of iconic images in photographs.
" Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal's photo of the flag-raising in the battle for Iwo Jima evoked an immediate and positive reaction that has withstood the test of time, and therefore allows exploration of visual imagery in the formation of public culture"(.Mitchell 2011)
"Hariman and Lucaites offer two possible interpretations of the Iwo Jima iconic photograph. First, is war as labor rather than killing; with weapons at rest, the men labor on behalf of the flag and nation-building? Second, the image can be read both as both a symbol of conquest (of territory and culture) and citizen action embodying egalitarianism, nationalism and civic republicanism." This shows how public life is determined especially by political figures. (Herbert 2009)
In connection with these view by Hariman and Lucaites, we can easily interpret the photo of us former us president aboard the U.S.S Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. The Iraq war was a military campaign that started in 20th of March 2003 where Iraq was invaded by us troops under president's George W. Bush's administration and also troops from the United Kingdom. These two governments were worried about Iraq's power of employing weapons of mass destruction which was a threat to them because the U.S believes it is the most powerful country in the world. The United Nations called for Iraq to cooperate with its weapons inspectors for them to check if Iraq was in possession of the weapons of mass destruction and they found none. The U.S however still believed that Iraq would start producing these weapons once the ban was lifted.
The us also invaded Iraq under the claims that Iraq president, Saddam Hussein was hiding and supporting the al-Qaeda, their support of the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and the abuse of human rights. This finally resulted in the capture, trial and execution of Saddam Hussein. on 1st may 2003, president George W. Bush made a landing in an aircraft on an aircraft carrier and made the infamous 'mission accomplished ' speech where he said that the combat operations in the Iraq war was over. With a banner at the -of the air craft carrier reading mission accomplished. This photo received a lot of criticism according to our social knowledge the mission was not yet accomplished because the American troops still loomed at large in Iraq and have not been deployed to date.
Though Iraq expects that by the end of 2011 there will be no more us troops in Iraq. The general impression created by president bush under this banner was premature especially because later on the guerilla war began. This photo can also be viewed as a way of understanding what led to the invasion of Iraq by the U.S troops and if really they disarmed Iraq of the weapons of mass destruction or whether the U.S troops gave in under pressure and left Iraq unmanned at all. This photo also depicts bush's unrealistic goals because was it in the interest of integrity that bush decided to wage war on Iraq? it is very ironical that bush was giving this speech of victory when the war had just began and he had no idea how long the war would take and as we know it became a relatively long war such that many officials in bush's administration regretted the presence of the banner while the president was making his speech. The war was not justified because president's bush involvement in the war was not mandated by the U.N.
Hariman and Lucaites comment on the novel nature of Ground Zero Spirit, describing the Franklin photo as the first instance of an iconic photograph being created out of the template of a predecessor. Both photos were taken of an unfolding event, amid great loss; both acquired "predictive" power while redefining their respective scenes in terms of a still-unrealized victory. Significantly different is the orientation of the human figures.
And it was better if the y had resorted to diplomacy and considered war as a last resort when all the available options had been exhausted. And also this can be viewed in the light that president bush had missed the point because he was not fighting the Iraqis rather he was fighting the al-Qaeda.
This photo also evokes emotion of bush's extravagance and risked his life trying to prove a point. This is because the arrested landing he made cost his government a fortune and was considered highly theatrical because he had no major reason as to why he wanted to use a jet as he said he wanted to 'see a landing as aviators see a landing.' this is no valid reason at all. We could interpret it as a show made for television bedecked in a flight -suit movie style. sThis is just a tip of how extravagant his regime was. Bush's jet could have made it to the carrier but he insisted on using a jet .on the day he made his speech aboard the Lincoln, the Lincoln was just 48 km from the shore he also risked his life because even though he was an F-102 fighter pilot after he graduated from Yale , he was not a navy pilot and incase of any technical hitches while he was aboard the jet then chances are that he would have lost his life though he had been trained a few days prior to making his speech how to escape incase of anything. career landing is very dangerous and this endangered the life of the pilot who was flying president bush This photo could also be viewed as a weak point in bush's administrative system he employed a hands-free style of management and his reign was prone to making mistakes made by loyal subordinates( Wroe 2009).
The photo also reminds us about the language he used because at one point he called the Iraqis insurgents .this is totally uncalled for especially when it comes from a prominent figure that the majority expects to represent their country in a good way. It just shows what the U.S government of how they thought the Iraqis to be. Much blood was shed both the American troops and the Iraqi troops. In his speech, he never mentioned the lives that were lost rather it were a self-congratulatory message which was totally undeserved.
The photo takes America back in time and reminds them that they got themselves into something they had not planned for and had no idea of how they were going to cope with it. Leave alone the enormous resources spent in the war.
Photos is a strong way of passing information and as we have looked at president's bush photo we realise that it brought a lot of criticisms to his way of rule something he really regrets and wishes he had not done .his invasion of Iraq and declaring that the war was over was far from true because if anything the wars began afresh. So saying that photographic images of iconic people is a very powerful tool of communication is not an under statement. Just a peak at the photo of president bush aboard the U.S.S Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier is enough to conjure emotions that we have long since forgotten and cannot deal with.