Photo Doesn't Even Pay Postage

Associated Press

Shortly after taking the photograph of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima, Joe Rosenthal received a raise, a bonus of a year's salary and $1,500 in award money.

That was the last money he made off the picture.

Rights to the flag-raising photo are held by the Associated Press, Rosenthal's employer at the time, and all distribution is handled by Wide World Photos, an AP subsidiary.

If anything, Rosenthal said in an interview, the photo has cost him money.

Each day brings a deluge of mail to his San Francisco apartment, and he tries to respond to each letter or request for an autograph. Postage alone, he said, has probably amounted to hundreds of dollars.

With Rosenthal's consent, the AP decided in 1945 to turn over all future proceeds from the photo to the Navy Relief Society.

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