Burial at Sea from the U.S.S. Bunker Hill by W. Eugene Smith

The photograph titled “Burial at Sea from the U.S.S. Bunker Hill” was captured by W. Eugene Smith during the Marshall Islands Campaign. The black-and-white image depicts a solemn oceanic burial ceremony aboard a military ship.

In the photo, we see a group of sailors clad in their uniforms standing aboard a ship, observing a burial at sea. The viewpoint is from above looking down the side of the ship. The shrouded body is captured mid-descent, slipping from a plank into the sea. The sailors display a demeanor of respect and gravity, appropriate for the seriousness of the moment they are witnessing. The ocean’s expanse is visible around the scene, underscoring the isolation and the vastness of the setting where this deeply personal and somber ritual is taking place. The photograph captures the human cost of war and the somber reality of military service in a powerful and emotive composition.

Other Photographs from W. Eugene Smith

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