Nick Ut took the photo. He also put his camera down and helped the girl. He also took her to hospital and used his press credentials to force the staff to treat the girl. They were going to let her die as too badly injured.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
The girls name is Kim Phuc and she refers to "Uncle Nick" to this day and still talks to him regularly. They both live in North America now, Kim in Canada and Nick on the west coast US. In other words in this case the photography who took the iconic image is the one who did the most to save a life, he is the hero as well.
Don McCullin is I beleive the photographer changing film on the right hand side of the image, although it may heve been Eddie Adams, I don't recall. He missed the shot entirely because he fumbled a film change on his Leica.
That picture was one of a small handful of images defined much of the publics perception about the war in Vietnam. Some things need to be seen. Some things need to be photographed even if they are never published.
I recall a Life photographer talking about some of the things he photographed in the concentration camps at the close of WWII. He said many things he photographed should never be published but needed to be archived to show the depths of the descent of man. I doubt that argument can be applied to the subway picture.
Had I been there, with a train that close I'm fairly confident I would not have risked being pulled onto the lines trying the save the guy. I know there is space under the platform to hide and be safe if you stay tight, but the margins at the time the image was taken are way too fine for me.