The 5×4 inch sheet of film that photographer Joe Rosenthal exposed on Mount Suribachi during World War II was transformed in 1954 into a 60 foot high bronze sculpture. This is a unique metamorphosis: from film to bronze, from 2D to 3D, from small to large.
The sculptor of the Iwo Jima monument was Felix de Weldon, a Vienna-born artist who achieved fame as a sculptor in Britain before arriving in the US. He can be seen in these photographs of the making of the Marine Corps monument. These strange images record his transformation of the photograph into a giant sculpture.
De Weldon refines the soldier’s boots that have been attached to the steel framework.
Each figure was designed without clothing in order to duplicate the muscle tone of the stretched and straining bodies.
De Weldon views the figures of Harlan Block and Rene Gagnon.
De Weldon refines the figure of John Bradley.
Bronze figure of Harlan Block being moved to the base of the memorial in Arlington.
The final result is the Iwo Jima memorial at the Arlington National Cemetry, opened in 1954.