MAY 4, 1970

Fourteen-year-old Mary Ann Vecchio screams over the body of 20-year-old Jeffrey Miller, shot by Ohio National Guardsmen in the 1970 Kent State Massacre. Filo, a photojournalism student at the time, was later awarded the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography.

This prize-winning photograph appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide and throughout the past forty years has continued to be printed in many publications.

In the early 1970s, an anonymous technician removed the fencepost above Mary Ann Vecchio’s head using darkroom techniques. The altered photo was then used in numerous publications, including TIME, People and LIFE.

The altered version of the photo was printed in the May 1995 issue of LIFE magazine. It was this publication of the photo, 25 years after it was taken, that attracted attention as being altered. David Friend, the Director of Photography at LIFE during this time, responded to criticism of the magazine: “LIFE did not and does not manipulate news photos. The photo we published was supplied to us by our photo library, the Time-Life Picture Collection, the second largest such repository of catalogued images...One can only wonder why the missing pole hasn’t been noticed the previous times it has appeared, even though literally millions of people have seen the fence-post-less photo in publications dating back 23 years.”

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Image copyright John Paul Filo