When the United States entered World War II, the Navy established a group of photographers to document and publicize its aviation activities. The navy required massive recruitment and pilots specifically for the navy. They established a photographic unit, in which thousands of talented photographers were commissioned. These photographs were printed in the papers, posters, and ads.
Edward Steichen was tasked to assemble a team of photographs from across the country. Some famous photographs were recruited to run the photographic unit such as Wayne Miller and Horace Bristol. Among those famous names, there was a new name Fons Lannelli also known as Alfonso, who just started his career.
Fons began working with the unit as an assistant and darkroom developer but was promoted to the photographer. He was given the task of documenting the emotions of the men on the ship. His photographs were published in a collection edited by Steichen entitled U.S. Navy War Photographs. He was known for his ability to overcome difficult lighting situations and is said to have introduced bounce-light techniques for softer lighting into photojournalism.
Iannelli established his own movie production studio in 1951 named Filmscope Inc. In 1982 his studio caught fire and many of his vintage prints and equipment were destroyed. Here below are some stunning photographs that document the US navy life captured by Fons Lannelli.