This is, in my opinion, one of the most erotic photographs ever taken, and as it is of an actual event, remains iconic. A photo of a PBY gunner manning his post somewhere over the Pacific Ocean in World War II. And he just happens to be naked. Here is a brief description by the photographer.
“…we got a call to pick up an airman who was down in the Bay. The Japanese were shooting at him
from the island, and when they saw us they started shooting at us. The man who was shot down was
temporarily blinded, so one of our crew stripped off his clothes and jumped in to bring him aboard.
He couldn’t have swum very well wearing his boots and clothes. As soon as we could, we took off. We
weren’t waiting around for anybody to put on formal clothes. We were being shot at and wanted to get
the hell out of there. The naked man got back into his position at his gun in the blister of the plane.”
The fact that this airman was under fire when he jumped in the ocean to save his comrade, and the fact that he didn’t bother to get dressed when they got back in the plane, is astonishing. A hero with water beading on his back, at his post, exposed and yet ready for action. Did he even consider his nudity, at the time? I don’t think he gave it a second thought, and that is what makes the photograph so erotic.