Introduction on Nick Ut:
Nick Ut was born in Long An, Vietnam, March 29, 1951 and is now 62 years of age.
He has been a photographer for the Associated Press (AP) since he was 16. Following in his brother’s footsteps after he had died doing the same job. He had not taken sides within the war he was just a photographer being set out to take photos of what’s going on around the world. Before he started working with the AP properly he spent 3 years learning about photography and how to produce images using the dark room. He gained all of his brother’s cameras and just learnt from there on wards.
Ut is a United States citizen and is married with two children. He lives in Los Angeles, and remains an AP photographer. His photos of a crying Paris Hilton in the back seat of a Los Angeles County Sheriff's cruiser on June 8, 2007 were published worldwide; however, Ut was photographing Hilton alongside photographer Karl Larsen. Two photographs emerged; the more famous photo of Hilton was credited to Ut despite being Larsen's photo.
Date of photo:
Forty years ago, June 8, 1972 (Nick Ut was only 19) however the day after the photo was taken (June 9th) after weeks of fierce fighting, kontum city is cleared of NVA and declared secure.
Nick Ut, was shooting photos outside of Trang Bang village, South Vietnam, when South Vietnamese planes accidentally dropped napalm bombs on Trang Bang, which had been occupied by North Vietnamese troops. It was the picture of a nine-year-old girl, running naked down a road, screaming in agony from the jellied gasoline coating her body and burning through skin and muscle down the bone.
What happened just before the photo was taken?
Soon there was the noise of an airplane coming. The first plane dove and dropped two bombs. The second one, an A-1 Skyraider, poured napalm. We thought, “Wow, the bomb was very close,” but we didn’t think there were any people still there.
I had a long lens, so I shot pictures of the bombs coming down, and the bomb explosions. I thought to myself, “Good pictures. Maybe no one will get pictures because everyone else left already.”
I looked at the smoke, and then I saw children running. Then a cat, then another family running. Then I saw Kim Phuc’s grandmother running with a one-year-old baby in her arms. She was an old lady, and was shouting, “Help me, help me, help my grandson.”
When she was about 50 yards away, she stopped, and all the photographers and TV cameras started taking pictures of the baby. The boy, that one-year-old baby, died in her arms right away.
I remember looking through my Leica at the boy when he died. As I was shooting, I saw in the corner of the viewfinder a girl running with her arms stretched out to the sides. I thought, “Oh my God,” and began running at her and shot all of my pictures.
Who was fighting whom? What’s going on?
The war in Vietnam occurred during the Cold War, and is generally viewed as an indirect conflict between the United States and Soviet Union, with each nation and its allies supporting one side.
1959-1975. This period begins with North Vietnam's first guerilla attacks against the South and ends with the fall of Saigon. American ground forces were directly involved in the war between 1965 and 1973.
If there was one photograph that captured the horrific nature of the Vietnam War, one photograph that tore at our collective conscience, it was the picture of a nine year old girl, running naked down a road, screaming in agony from the jellied gasoline coating her body and burning through skin and muscle down the bone. Her village in the Central Highlands of Vietnam was napalmed that day in 1972, and the little girl took a direct hit. It would take many years, and 17 operations to save her life. And when she finally felt well enough to put it behind her, that very photograph would make her a victim, all over again.
NLF forces occupied the tiny hamlet of Trang Bang. The South Vietnamese…