A tale of two pictures: signs of the times

30 December 2007

Fifty-six Thirty-five years ago, an Associated Press photographer called Huyng Cong Ut, then 21, shot a picture of Phan Thi Kim Phuc (above), a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl running naked towards the camera shouting “Nong qua, nong qua (Too hot!, Too hot)!” during the Vietnam War.

The picture, originally rejected by AP editors because it showed frontal nudity, was eventually circulated, won Ut the Pultizer Prize, and played a role in hastening America’s withdrawal from the war.

In June this year Ut, now known as Nick Ut, photographed another girl in distress (above). The location this time was Los Angeles. Paris Hilton, the billionaire hotel heiress, had just been told that she would have to spend 23 days in jail for a traffic violation.

Ut says he was “very lucky” to get the picture, with 300-400 paparazzi roaming the streets of Beverly Hills, generating over 120,000 pictures a week for syndicating agencies.

A legendary photographer snapping celebrities?

“To be honest, I don’t really mind what I shoot,” he says. “I’m just grateful to have the work.”

Read the full article: Double negative

Photographs: courtesy Associated Press/The Daily Telegraph, London

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One Response to “A tale of two pictures: signs of the times”

  1. Mekhala Says:

    “Fifty-six years ago…. Ut, then 21…”. Having done the math, I was astonished to find a 77-year old photographer beat others to to take paris hilton’s photo!

    But, Vietnam happened later. This photo was shot in 1972, making it 35 years ago. So, Ut is 56 years old.


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