Famed Life magazine photographer Allan Grant may have provided to us his greatest "picture" just before he died. The cameraman's portrait of the Roswell crash in 1947 illustrates that the event that summer was of urgent importance to the military. It also shows that the skyfallen object was in fact of a genuine "unknown."
With his passing last year, Allan Grant has been rightly elevated to legendary status in the world of journalistic photography. For decades Mr. Grant was a permanent member of the prestigious Life photographic staff. He captured on film some of the most recognizable images in history. Grant's legacy includes such memorable work as the first-ever public picture of Lee Harvey Oswald's wife Marina (taken after Lee's capture) to the haunting, last-ever picture of Marilyn Monroe. His work's "movie still" clarity, his many Life cover shots and his photographic studies were a gift left to all of us.
But Allan's best chronicle was left before he died- and surpasses any captured image of a politician or an entertainer that he ever took. His greatest gift to history was his revelation that he was involved in the Roswell saga- and his confirmation that what crashed in New Mexico those many years ago was not of a balloon or a secret aircraft experiment, but of an Unidentified Flying Object!
In 1997, Mr. Grant had written a very brief Letter to the Editor of the Los Angeles Times. Allan was upset after having read in the LA Times of the second Roswell "debunking" report issued by the USAF that year. In the letter he was somewhat cryptic- but adamant that he knew that Roswell was not what the Air Force was reporting as a balloon project. He explained that he had a personal experience fifty years prior that had left a life-long impression on him. It also left no doubt in his mind whatsoever that something "very significant" had happened.