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The Missing Pole
On May 4, 1970 members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on anti-war demonstrators at Kent State University. Four students were killed and nine wounded. Student photographer John Filo captured an image (top) of 14-year-old runaway Mary Ann Vecchio screaming with grief as she knelt beside the body of Jeffrey Miller.

The picture became one of the most famous of the twentieth century. Filo won a Pulitzer Prize for it in 1971. But sometime around 1972 an unknown photo editor decided to airbrush out the pole that was awkwardly situated behind Vecchio's head.

The altered image (bottom) replaced the original in the Time-Life Picture Archive and consequently became the standard print used by most publications. Although the de-poled photo ran in many magazines, no one noticed the deletion until May 1995, when it appeared in Life Magazine.
Links and References
Mystery of the Missing Pole -- Solved!, National Press Photographers Association email listserver (via Web Archive).




All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.