Nick Ut

What a great pleasure to meet one of the world best photographers.

Of the tens of thousands of photographs documenting the horrors of the Vietnam War, perhaps none is more memorable and iconic than the shot which has come to be known as the “Napalm Girl,” captured by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut.

Ut’s Pulitzer Prize Photo

It was in 1973 that Nick Ut captured a photograph that would make him famous and win him the most coveted honor in photojournalism, the Pulitzer Prize. The image shows a naked and screaming Vietnamese girl running with her arms spread wide. Her face is a study in agony. Her body has been scorched with by the burning bomb chemical, napalm, and she flees a scene of smoky chaos in the background.

Like no other image, this photograph of an innocent 9-year-old child fleeing the terrors of battle captured the complexity and often unintended consequences of war. The screaming girl burned by napalm was Phan Thi Kim Phuc of the Trang Bang district. She became known as the “Napalm Girl,” as the image was reproduced in newspapers around the world.

It would go on to become perhaps the primary image which communicated the agony, and for many, the folly of the Vietnam War. It became a potent symbol for anti-war protesters.

Phan Thi Kim Phuc survived the incident despite severe burns over a large part of her back and body. After taking the photograph, Nick Ut took Phuc and several other children to a hospital in Saigon, saving Phuc’s life. She was so badly burned she was not expected to survive. Kim Phuc lives today in Canada and has Canadian citizenship. She and Ut later met as adults.

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