Wednesday, 2 February 2011
The execution of Nguyen Van Lem. Photographer: Eddie Adams
Agreeably this is a distressing photo as the viewer knows what is about to happen. The photo depicts the last living second of this gentleman's life. But this is a historic piece (won pulitzer & world press photo award 1969) that embeds an image for all to remember for the rest of their life. A good or a bad thing?
Documentation, especially of war, is essential for us to remember what may be otherwise forgotten. Not only forgotten but over-seen or covered up incidents such as the one above are brought to light.
Top war photographers such as James Nachtwey, Robert Cappa and Sean Flynn have been to places nobody else would want to go unless they were fighting. Their aim is to show the outside world what an unknown world is like. And this is not a prepared, thought through process, it is merely aim and shoot. The photos taken show a hyper-reality, where the subject and matter in hand are real.