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Thursday, 08 March 2012


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Reading the NYT Stan Stearn obit last week I could not avoid wondering which would be worse: having a single great photograph overwhelm and overshadow your professional identity for the rest of your life, or having that single great photo stolen from your identity.

Eddie Adams, as a separate example, was a devoted, accomplished, and respected photojournalist. But his 1968 photo of south Vietnamese general Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing a vietcong prisoner utterly overwhelmed everything else he ever did. He reached the point where he was selling workshops and would bitterly not discuss the shot with anyone.

Personally, I'd rather forget about such iconic shots rather than have them haunt me for the rest of my life.

Small detail - "John-John" wasn't six years old; JFK's funeral was on John-John's 3rd birthday. That's why the salute was so poignant from such a young child.

Just a nitpick.

John-John (JFK Jr.) was a 3-year-old, not a 6-year-old, when he saluted his father's casket at the funeral. What made it even more poignant was that it was the child's 3rd birthday.

And then there were photographers like A. Aubrey Bodine, who worked for the Baltimore Sun for 50 years (died in 1970), and who perhaps never had that iconic image, but who made a wonderful "portrait of Baltimore" in his body of work over that time.

Now another Maryland native deserves his due.

Mani and Roberto,
Thanks. Fixed.


Dear Ken,

Further complicating Eddie's feelings was that he felt the street execution was entirely justified, and he was not happy that it was viewed stateside as an atrocity of war.

(As an artist, I can fully empathize; as an anti-war activist, it's another matter.)

pax / Ctein

Is there a full frame version of that photo available?

I'm much more likely to be haunted by the iconic shot I missed than the one I got.

Thoughtful read. I'm looking forward to following the links embedded in the article. That's what Sunday mornings are all about.

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