Retired Chronicle photographer Joe Rosenthal, who won the Pulitzer Prize and international acclaim for his soul-stirring picture of the World War II flag-raising on Iwo Jima, died Sunday in Novato.While there has been some debate over whether the picture was in some way staged or directed, Rosenthal is quoted telling a friend in recent years, "It was not posed. I gave no signal and didn't set it up. I just got every break a photographer could have wished for. If I set it up I probably would have ruined the shot. I was lucky."
Rosenthal, 94, retired from The Chronicle in 1981 after a distinguished 35-year career and many professional honors, but the flag-raising picture was his masterpiece for which he will always be remembered.
The Pulitzer Committee in 1945 described the photo as "depicting one of the war's great moments," a "frozen flash of history."