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Thread: EDDIE ADAMS

  1. #11
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    I saw an interview with James Nachtwey a year or so ago, and he spoke very eloquently about this dilemma between making the photograph and putting the camera down to help. He has, from time to time put the camera down, but if there is help nearby then he has a job to do, and a story to tell. That's not to say there aren't photographers out there who exploit situations for their own egos, agendas, and careers, because there are.

    Anyway, Eddie Adam's picture is very important to the history of photography and to the history of Vietnam. It's a powerful and shocking image, but this photograph and photojournalism in general has it's limits, and always requires context. I've rarely seen this image reproduced with an accompanying story.

  2. #12
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Revy
    I saw an interview with James Nachtwey a year or so ago, and he spoke very eloquently about this dilemma between making the photograph and putting the camera down to help. He has, from time to time put the camera down, but if there is help nearby then he has a job to do, and a story to tell. That's not to say there aren't photographers out there who exploit situations for their own egos, agendas, and careers, because there are.
    Maybe he's had time to reflect on the moment. In the interview I saw with him several years back, he seemed to feel completely justified and was quite vocal in his purpose; that being to capture a shot that would become iconic and garner him the Prize.

    From the film footage that I saw, there seemed to be a considerable amount of time from when the children came into view and when the soldiers got to them to help. Nachtwey was clearly the closest to them, even ahead of the film camera who was closer to the soldiers. Even after he had the shot and put his camera down, I didn't see him doing anything to help. But that's all 30-some years in the past now. And my recollections may also be clouded by time.

    All in all, I never felt revulsion over Eddie Adam's photo. I did feel revulsion that someone could publish the picture of the little girl. I though it was entirely exploitive back then when I was sweating out the war, and now, thirty-some years later.
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  3. #13

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    That scene was also recorded in Video at the same time. It's showing on the News was what let Adams' picture become famous.

  4. #14
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Mitchell
    That scene was also recorded in Video at the same time. It's showing on the News was what let Adams' picture become famous.
    Thanks for jogging my dusty memory Bill. Now I remember the film and Eddie's photo was published by Life magazine as I remember.

    The Iwo flag raising was also filmed. That was truly an iconic moment just in itself. From the accounts of the moment that have been written, the entire battle stopped for a couple moments.

    I think it interesting that in both incidents, a still photograph could have been made from the film footage that showed the same picture. But the most memorable image in both cases came from a single photographer with a single click of the shutter.
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  5. #15
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to have confused things here. I wanted to make a brief and very general point about the role of the combat photographer, and James Nachtwey is currently one of the best war photographers around. He did not cover Vietnam, but has covered a number of more recent wars, mostly for Time Magazine. I believe the girl burning photograph was made by Nick Ut. (I could be wrong here, and I know less about that photograph and photographer, so I won't add anything there!)

    I think Eddie Adams was unfairly criticized when people suggested he should have stopped the execution. He clearly knew what happened, and did his job. I'm not sure he could have predicted at that moment the impact of his photo. And, Alex, you are right about the single moment. Still photographs from wars leave a lasting impression, and an important historical record. Video can't touch it!

    Of course, I wonder with digital photography, if we will have a lasting and permanent archive of Iraq, since most of the photographs have been digital. Will the files be accessible in, say, forty years?

  6. #16
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    That "execution" photograph has been widely misunderstood. Taken out of context, it appears to be an inhuman act: I've read recently that the victim had been captured a few moments before, after he brutally murdered eight people, and the General "lost it" after viewing the bodies.
    Not a vindication, by any means, but a "softening" of the cruelty. Still terrible, but more understandable.

    The media seized that image, and published it with the full intent of having it stir up sentiment ... already highly opposed to a unjustifiable - and unpopular war... a distortion of the true situation ... with the idea that "the ends justify the means".
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  7. #17
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley
    The Iwo flag raising was also filmed. That was truly an iconic moment just in itself. From the accounts of the moment that have been written, the entire battle stopped for a couple moments.
    That image was of the second flag raising... staged expressly for the news media. The first flag was considered to be too small, so another was obtained, and the scene recreated.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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