Eddie Adams – Iconic War Photographer

Photo by Eddie Adams/Associated Press

I’m not a great believer in the power of the moving image. A still image has greater lasting power. A still photographer has to show the whole fucking movie in one picture. On the screen, it’s over and back in the can in seconds. A still picture is going to be there forever. — Eddie Adams

If you haven’t been haunted by Eddie Adams’ photography, maybe you just didn’t know it was his. His most iconic image, of a South Vietnamese police chief  executing a Vietcong suspect in 1968, won him a Pulitzer Prize and international acclaim. Adams hated being defined by that photo — and the responsibility that came with it. He got into celebrity portraiture when he returned from Vietnam.

In the new book “Eddie Adams: Vietnam,” Adams’ war photography is showcased, including 200 never-before-seen photos that his first wife found in her garage. (And a documentary on Adams, “An Unlikely Weapon,” will be released in April.)

In this week’s New Yorker, there’s a small piece on the gallery show in Brooklyn that coincides with the book’s release. In it, Chris Hondros, a photographer for Getty who’s logged many years in Iraq, comments on war photography then and now:

“That picture is almost a template of what a photographer tries to do in Iraq. At least so far, a truly iconic picture like that has not emerged.” He took one photograph, he said, that reminds people of Adams. “It’s a picture of a little girl. It was after a checkpoint shooting with U.S. soldiers. They shot up a car coming toward them, and it turned out it was just an Iraqi family. They killed the parents, who were in the front seat, and the children in the back survived.” Hondros’s picture shows the girl, one of the survivors, crouching at the feet of an American soldier and holding out her hands, which are covered with blood. “It ran all over the world,” he said. “I got a lot of e-mails—‘This picture is going to stop the war, just like Eddie Adams’s picture.’ This was in January, 2005. And that didn’t happen.” 

Article via The New Yorker

3 Responses to “Eddie Adams – Iconic War Photographer”

  1. 1 shutterbuda April 3, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve always wondered what mm this shot was taken with. In otherwords, how close was he?

  2. 2 discarted April 6, 2009 at 11:58 am

    It looks like it was shot somewhere between a 28mm and 50mm. Anyhow, it appears that he was close to the subjects and that a long lens wasn’t used.

  1. 1 Photography, Half-Truths and the Whole Story « Trackback on April 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm

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