Monday, May 10, 2010

ANNIVERSARIES: VIETNAM

With very little attention, recently two related and significant anniversaries passed. Friday, April 30th, was the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, and last Tuesday, May 4th, was the 40th anniversary of the shooting of protesting students at Kent State University. The Vietnam era is one that most Americans would rather forget. It was also, arguably, the last war that photojournalists had the ability to freely cover a conflict.

Several iconic images were made during the Vietnam war. The Boston Globe has posted an excellent selection of 47 photographs from the Vietnam era in their Big Picture: News Stories in Photographs. It includes Monroe Gallery photographers Eddie Adams, John Filo, Nick Ut, and Sal Veder.

Why do pictures like these matter? When LIFE magazine published Margaret Bourke-White's horrifying photographs of Buchenwald in its May 7, 1945 issue, it wrote ""Dead men will have indeed died in vain if live men refuse to look at them."

Related: The Bethel Arts Center for the Arts  is currently featuring the exhibit "Eddie Adams: Vietnam".

The New York Times selected a rare sequence of three prints of Eddie Adams’s famous 1968 picture of a South Vietnamese officer shooting a Vietcong suspect in the head, flanked within the same frame by shots in which the prisoner is being escorted by soldiers before his execution and has fallen to the ground after for its AIPAD review.