Nick Ut at Cal State Fullerton

 

 


Huỳnh Công Út, also known as Nick Ut (born March 29, 1951) is a photographer for the Associated Press (AP) who works out of Los Angeles. His best known photo is the Pulitzer Prize-winning picture of Phan Thị Kim Phuc, who was photographed as a naked 9-year-old girl running toward the camera to flee a South Vietnamese napalm attack on the Trang Bang village during the Vietnam War in 1972. Thanks to Ut getting her speedy medical treatment, this little girl lived (although she was hospitalized for more than 14 months) and they have remained close over the years. Meeting Nick Ut at the Press Photographer’s Association of Greater Los Angeles’ [PPGLA] New World of Media day on March 22 was an unexpected honor. I admire his work and the fact that when it came right down to it, he put his responsibility as a human being above his responsibility as a working photographer. For me, the photo of Phan Thị Kim Phúc is emblematic of the Vietnam War and also of human suffering caused by war. Ut is still a working photographer; his picture of Paris Hilton getting hauled off to jail has gotten him a bunch of flak – as if he is responsible for what his AP assignments are or that he belongs in a real war zone and not L.A. Nonsense! If you’re going to get all blame-y about something, don’t go after a working photographer and accuse him of being a sell-out. Go after Dow Chemicals, the folks that brought us mustard gas, napalm, genetically modified seed and virtually every plastic product known to man from Styrofoam to Saran wrap. What are we gonna do? I don’t know – I use zip-lock bags too. But when I  look at the photo of a little girl whose skin is burning off, it makes me think that there must be a better way to solve our differences than chemical warfare. And when I see Paris Hilton weeping in the back of a police car, I think that living right and ultimately, happiness, begins with taking personal responsibility for our actions. Thanks, Nick, for 35 years of great work.

 

Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles’ [PPAGLA]

 

 

 

 

See more of Nick Ut's work

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~ by ravenjake on April 12, 2008.

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