April 30, 1975, the fall of Saigon marked the end of a decade of
fighting in Vietnam. As the first war watched on TV and the most
photographed conflict in history, iconic images like Nick Ut's photo
of the girl fleeing napalm, Ron Haberle's grisly images of the massacre
at My Lai, and Eddie Adamsí horrifying image of a streetside execution
are imbedded in our memory banks.
later, the first exhibition of photographs of the Vietnam War, as
seen through the lens of North Vietnamese photographers premiered
at the International Center of Photography in New York on Jan. 11,
2002 and also went on display at National Geographic's museum, in
Pictures of the War from the Other Side, co-organized by the
ICP and National Geographic, contains over 113 black-and-white
haunting, yet evocative images that documented many intimate details
of the North Vietnamese experience of the war.
lives to capture their country's struggle, nine out of 10 of these
self-taught photojournalists died from bullets, bombs, dysentery
and malaria. The extraordinary measures which photographers like
Vo Ahn Khanh, who lugged a bulky Kodak press camera through
the thick jungles of the Mekong Delta, took to develop their pictures
included mixing photo chemicals in teacups and developing film in
mountain streams with the night sky as their darkroom. Another photographer
made a single roll of film-70 shots-last the entire war.
battle and daily life from the other side as well as compelling
interviews with the surviving soldier-photographers, who considered
their work as powerful as a gun and viewed their photos as weapons
used to win the war, are featured in the TV documentary by National
Geographic and the comprehensive book by British combat photographer
Tim Page which accompanied the exhibition.
Center of Photography Exhibition Website