15 comments on “What Makes An Image “Iconic”?

  1. This was a really interesting article. Thank you for all the research and thoughts. I think of the Marine Corps War Memorial as you’ve posted and the photo of Neil Armstrong standing on the moon where you can see the reflection in his space suit helmet. Both of those images give me chills. Going by the recognition factor, the first thing I think of is Mickey Mouse. Everybody knows who he is.

    • Thanks for reading & commenting. Both great suggestions. Your Neil Armstrong comment made me remember another photo as well; of the reflection of the earth in an astronaught’s helmet face. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that one!

  2. I also thought of the Marines in Okinawa and with that the similar photo of the firemen on the wreckage of the WTC raising the flag.

    What makes a photo iconic? Like the Supreme Court once said of obscenity, I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.

    • Great choices. In particular I should have thought of the JFK Jr pic.

      I actually did think about Challenger but I including that in a blog entry about 9/11 so I didn’t repeat it. Certainly could have.

  3. The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor has always been Iconic to me as well as the Bald Headed Eagle. Nice job on the post.

  4. Norma Desmond drew me into this post. I saw Sunset Blvd the musical staring Petula Clark. (Remember her from “Downtown” and “Don’t sleep in the subway”) She was sort of an ICON herself. Love your blog. (When it’s not about cemeteries and such…)

    • Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I’m a long-time Petula Clark fan. I think “Downtown” is the first album I ever bought. I think I was in 3rd grade. I still remember the cover. Her greatest hits are in my iPod. I saw her in Sunset Blvd as well when the tour came through Detroit. It was not as lavish a production as the previous times I’d seen it but I thought she was good; plus it was great to see live after hearing her for so many years.

  5. I really like your post. I’d personally put art like Munch in a different category than photographs. However, I can see your point in images that can last through time.
    iconic? hmmmmm Mona Lisa?

    • Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I know what you mean about some images being in a different category. The problem I found is that the more “iconic” the image became the more likely it was to cross media. The Mona Lisa is a painting, of course, but she is also on t-shorts and calendars and coffee mugs and greeting cards, etc etc. Great suggestion by the way.

  6. Pingback: The 300 | Harper's Valley

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