IWO JIMA REVISITED

My brother Eric told me about some interesting “twitchy stereoscopic photographs” that had been collected by Mental Floss blogger David K. Israel. (By the way, if you liked my Twitter-based “TWIPS” comics, you’ll enjoy Israel’s crowdsourced Web comic, “Twaggies”, which he launched in 2009.)

The so-called “twitchy” photos are based on stereoscopic images, which capture a single scene from two separate vantage points, just inches apart — in the same manner that our eyes and brain combine two slightly different perspectives to produce a 3D effect.

As Israel explains, it is possible to produce a simple animation by alternating between the left and right images of a stereoscopic image, “twitching ever so slightly from the minuscule difference in perspective. The resulting effect creates images that have a sense of depth and three dimensional quality to them, without the need for those annoying glasses.” Israel’s Mental Floss blog post presents a small collection of animated 3D images, including this one from Portland-based art director Matt Moore:

A few years back, I discovered a way to produce a true stereoscopic version of one of the most iconic photographs from World War II. The resulting image — which I wrote about for The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com — is the only historically authentic 3-D photo of the Iwo Jima flag-raising on Feb. 23, 1945.

After four days of staggering losses on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima, U.S. troops were in desperate need of a morale boost. Marine cinematographer Sgt. Bill Genaust and Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal stood side-by-side at the summit of Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi as five Marines and a Navy corpsman hoisted a wind-whipped American flag. A single frame from Genaust’s film freezes the action at precisely the same moment as Rosenthal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph. By juxtaposing those two images, it is possible to produce a three-dimensional version of the Iwo Jima flag-raising.

A simple “animation” of those two images (below) clearly shows the different camera angles of the two photographers. Genaust stood to the right of Rosenthal, and shot the scene from a slightly higher elevation.

(In the famous Rosenthal photograph, Private First Class Rene Gagnon is barely visible on the far side of the flag pole; In the frame from Genaust’s film, Gagnon comes more fully into view. Also, because Rosenthal had taken a position that was somewhat lower than Genaust’s, the background of his famous image shows less of the island below Suribachi’s peak.)

If you have access to some traditional 3D glasses — the type with red and blue lenses — you can view the flag-raising photo as a stereoscopic image:

More information HERE.

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