L.A. Times photojournalist Luis Sinco talks at Digital Journalist about his photograph of Marine Lance Cpl. James Miller, taken during a battle in Fallujah. He calls it Thousand Mile Stare, but the image has become widely known as Marlboro Man.
We entered Fallujah with Charlie Company of the First Marine Battalion, Eighth Regiment, shortly before midnight after watching from afar a two-hour bomb and gunfire barrage that lit the night sky like a Fourth of July fireworks show. I was nervous but tried to keep an outward calm, telling my colleague Patrick McDonnell that we might as well just go and get it all over with.
We had talked throughout the day, promising to keep an eye on each other and vowing not to leave the other behind. We crammed into armored tracked vehicles with a platoon of Marines ---- and I prayed as never before for the next half-hour.
I had tried to get his name but the exhausted platoon was already asleep in the darkened building. I identified him simply as "A Marine." I thought nothing of the photo. Just a detail shot to complement the action. However, it soon got legs and has since run all over. People now tell me it has become an icon. I don't know. It's hard to tell from the middle of a combat zone. All I know is that if Miller had turned the camera around on me, I would have had that same look: eyes filled with anxiety and fatigue framed in a face determined to survive.