Media people

Nick Ut returns to Vietnam for 'Napalm girl' anniversary

AP Photo/Na Son Nguyen.

Nick Ut is the longtime photographer in the Los Angeles bureau of the Associated Press. He began taking pictures in his native Vietnam during the war. On Monday, he was back in Vietnam on the same road outside Trang Bang where he had photographed Kim Phuc, a young girl fleeing the Napalm that burned off her clothes, 43 years ago to the day. The 1972 photo won a Pulitzer Prize and became the most enduring image of the Vietnam War. Ut has been back to Vietnam many times, but this time he was shooting with an iPhone 5 — and with the keys to AP's Instagram account.

From AP's story:

He stands in the northbound lane of Vietnam's Highway 1, traffic swirling around him, horns honking. He is pointing. Right there, he says — that's where it happened. That's where the screaming children appeared. That's where I made the picture that the world couldn't forget.

Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut was 21 on that day more than half a lifetime ago when he stood on the same road, pointed his camera northeast and captured one of history's most famous images — a naked Vietnamese girl screaming and fleeing after South Vietnamese planes looking for Viet Cong insurgents attacked with napalm from the air.


Ut's June 8, 1972, image of Kim Phuc, now known as the "napalm girl," helped crystallize the debate America had been having for more than half a decade about a far-off war that was lethal to so many. But the image began its persuasive work on newspaper pages many hours later, not in the instantaneous fashion we see today.

Kim Phuc, who is now a Canadian citizen living in Ontario, did not make the trip. Nick Ut began taking photos of the war for AP after his brother, AP photographer Huynh Thanh My, was killed in Vietnam in 1965.

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