06 February 2008

Images of war

The Poor Mouth: An iconic image:
Last Friday (1 February) was the 40th anniversary of one of the iconic images of our times. On 1 February 1968, with the Tet offensive in its early stages Eddie Adams photographed South Vietnamese officer General Nguyan Ngoc Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner.

Jams O'Donnell goes on to say
For me (and probably most everyone else – apart, probably, from those who were there at the time), this and the one of Phan Thi Kim Phuc running screaming along a road are the two images that spring to mind when I think of the Vietnam War. For me most it is a dreadful image, a powerful statement of the brutality of war. I must admit I knew very little about the background to the photo. I found Adams’s feelings about the photo interesting and not what I had expected.

You can find the rest, including Adams's description of how he came to take the photo here The Poor Mouth: An iconic image, and it's worth reading.

And the amazing thing is that an American government composed of people who were alive at the time of those events, and knew what happened, should start not one, but two unwinnable wars a generation later, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As many people sang back then, when will they ever learn?


Cat C-B (and/or Peter B) said...

It is just incredibly painful to recognize these patterns repeating. Having grown up on these images, I share your horror at how easily those of us who can remember the events they show have put out of mind what they mean...

Joe said...

Back in the summer I was somewhat surprised to find that a hasty snap of a weeping Paris Hilton being taken to jail was taken by none other than Pulitzer-winning Nick Ut who shot the image you also mentioned of the wee lassie fleeing down a road in Vietnam after a napalm attack. Bizarrely he took that on June 8th 1972 and his Paris pic on June 8th 2007...

The fact a photojournalist who covered that awful war and took one of the iconic images of the last century is now having to cover spoiled socialites going to jail probably says more about the decline of civilisation than I care to think about... Links etc on my blog post from last summer: http://www.woolamaloo.org.uk/2007/06/photography-then-and-now-in-among-all.htm

Steve Hayes said...


One of the things that I found quite interesting was that the only US presidential candidate who made it into the top ten Technorati tags along with Paris Hilton was Ron Paul.

The results of the primaries seem to indicate that the blogosphere is far removed from popular culture.

By the way, the link to your post didn't work, but I'll try to correct it. The best thing to do to put a link in a comment like that is to click on the "Links to this post" in the post you want to link to, copy the resulting code, and paste it into the comment, like this T h e Woolamaloo Gazette. Voila! The link is there.


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