The "Most Famous" Photo Ever?

(AP Photo)
We've spent a fair amount of time lately with stories of altered photographs and debates about the ease with which today's images can be manipulated. So it's only fair to remember the value pictures can have in our media and society – perhaps exemplified best by WWII photographer Joe Rosenthal who passed away yesterday (hat tip - Romenesko). Don't remember Rosenthal? Of course you do – courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle:
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.

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."

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."