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david leigh-smith
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On This Day...October 24th.

October 24, 2018 · in News · · 12 · 3.1K

One of the most shocking and enduring images from World War 2 was taken on October 24th, 1943. Sergeant Len Siffleet was an Australian Commando captured by partisan tribesman in Papua New Guinea and handed over to the Japanese who tortured, starved, and finally beheaded him.

The executioner insisted one of the privates witnessing take a photograph of the act of murder. The photo can be seen widely on the internet and has been recreated in scale form by the artist David Siever, who has captured several dramatic scenes of war in miniature.

This second photo was taken today in 1946 and is the first photo taken of our planet from space. It was taken on a Devry 35-millimeter movie camera attached to a captured V2 rocket at an altitude of 65 miles. The rocket was captured in Germany in 1945, and was launched at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The last photo shows the ruins of Hiroshima Commercial Exhibition Hall, Hiroshima, Japan, 24 October 1945 - some 1000 feet or so away from ground zero from ‘Little Boy’ detonation.

Reader reactions:
6  Awesome

12 responses

  1. It's strange how we are bombarded daily with images of death and destruction and become hardened to it but I found the image of two simply modelled figures upsetting...

  2. Neil, if you’ve seen the original photograph, it is an immensely powerful image that is also profoundly disturbing. This miniature has caught a lot of that power and does show how we as modellers can provoke a reaction, catch a mood, or inspire awe.

    I much prefer to see Leonard Siffleet as he is below...

  3. Another great set of pictures David... I have seen the original photo, and on occasion it can be seen on television as well. Very powerful picture.

    Lest we forget ...

    I remember they had a captured V-2 on display at Fort Bliss, which is just a little distance from White Sands. I've been there many times at White Sands...

    The Hiroshima photo is another good one too. I really enjoy this series.



  4. There are many photographs of actual beheadings committed during WW2, against prisoners of war. It is as if they sacrificed a human life, a defenseless one at that, to prove warriorship.

    We humans harbour strange beliefs, and most of them are used for bolstering a fabricated story about self, the ego. Such beliefs can drive a person to murder. It's in the news every day. We are strange in-deed.

    • Peter, I urge you to visit David Siever’s website. He is the the artist who made the Siffleet figures and you’ll find your sentiments are very much shared with this amazing artist...


  5. Thank you, Louis. Appreciate the support and and taking the time to comment. As I mentioned, the thread is a personal project over the year to try and connect a bit more with history. It’s also cathartic, like with the Siffleet photo; allows me to vent some frustration at the human ‘condition’. The research is hugely interesting.

    Hope all is well, Louis.

  6. Reality, what a concept. Thought provoking images.

  7. Robert, I spend over half my life trying to get people to shift their perspective (and experience) of ‘reality’. If I think I’m a bad person yet everyone I meet says I’m a good man, who is correct in terms of realty. Often when I make a model all I see is the flaws, (I learned some time ago to ‘park’ those thoughts) yet other seem to like the stuff I build. I know a lot of folks here experience the same thing.

    • We all have ideals. They grow as we grow. To compare our now, or past, to the future (our ideals) we will always be found wanting.

      In regards to reality, there is only one reality and that is the 'truth'. If it is not true, it is not real. The trouble with this is that we often think we know the truth. But truth goes deeper, and seemingly narrower, as we go deeper. Similar to 'the more we know, the less we know'. It points to humanity living a lie, though it usually doesn't think so. If at the very end of life, in that final second, we realize our life was just a fabrication of our own mind. Oh, what little truth do we know (zip).

  8. Made an account just to post this. Just found this post googling my name, this was an older piece I did years back. Hope you all enjoyed the work!

  9. David, I really enjoy your work. How I’d love to have a copy of the Freud set. The pieces are extraordinarily evocative and often moving. Glad you joined the forum, please keep us informed of new work!


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