This book was one of those books – just in the bookcase. It looked all innocent and boring and official, but one day – I don’t remember when – I started looking through it. And I was just transfixed by the rawness, the power of photographic documentary.
The photo that hit me the most was this one. (anything in italics is the book’s caption)
DEATH AT AN EARLY AGE After plunging 86 floors from the observation deck of the Empire State Building, an attractive 23-year-old lies peacefully atop the crumpled sedan she struck on West 33rd Street.
Anyone wondering what “Bette Davis Eyes” look like…
Just Marilyn Monroe on a bike. NBD.
Elwood, Ind., Aug 17, 1940. In what is not a movie scene but a news photograph that LIFE’s editor’s praised as the greatest campaign picture ever made, G.O.P. candidate Wendall Willke rides his hometown to make his acceptance speech.
THE PACIFIC, 1945. This Japanese snapshot of an officer about to behead an Australian flier was passed hand to hand by GIs in the Pacific, and finally reached LIFE near war’s end.
RUSSIA, 1942. A Russian supports his fainting wife at the moment she discovers her son among the pile of guerrillas executed by the Nazi Army…
THE LEGGY LOOK. This 1969 combination of mini-skirt, well-groomed long hair and sunglasses is a modern classic.
The shit-cunts that inspired the Mississippi Burning movie.
The real “Saving Private Ryan” or “Longest Day” for all you oldies! (Photo by Robert Capa)
Another Robert Capa photo.
A millisecond after his enemy’s bullet struck him, a Spanish soldier falls. This 1937 picture brought Bob Capa world fame
Milford Sound vs NYC.
LBJ showing off his surgery scars to remove gall and kidney stones. WTF?
60s flower power.
TOKEN CAT PHOTO!
What was the book you ask?
There were plenty more photos, obviously, introducing me to characters and events I had no idea were significant until later. It kinda felt like you were looking at porn – looking at this incredible realism of war and death and struggle and – let’s face it – LIFE.
As a kid it was titillating, but I think a big part of me was influenced by the moment, by the importance. I hope.