Around 9:00 am, I left my ATM card in the ATM machine at the airport in Danang and didn't realize it until I got to Hanoi. Then I set out on our afternoon photo shoot with what turned out to be, not one, but two near dead batteries; one in each camera. After about 6 shots I was out of juice and my two cameras became "dead weight"....bummer.
But as you might have guessed by the title of this post, things got better, a whole lot better......
While walking around Hoan Kiem lake near Hanoi's old quarter, I looked up and saw someone that I immediately recognized. It was Nick Ut, an Associated Press photographer from Los Angeles. His Vietnamese name is Huỳnh Công Út and he is best known not by his name or his face but rather by his Pulitzer Prize-winning picture of Phan Thị Kim Phúc, a burned and naked 9-year-old girl running toward the camera to flee a South Vietnamese napalm attack on the Trang Bang village during the Vietnam War. The picture became know as "the Napalm girl" and it is an image with such impact that many believe that it changed the course of history.
Photo by Nick UtI approached Nick, introduced myself and we started talking. In a few moments many of my tour participants arrived, so I introduced Nic to them and explained who he was. What an amazing opportunity, to be in Hanoi and run into Nick Ut, especilly having just come from Saigon and a visit to the Requiem photo exhibit at the war museum! What a tremendous thrill it was to meet the man behind the photograph.
Photo by John RickabyWhat started out as a bad day will be a day that I remember forever...a brush with photojournalism history... a hand shake, a short conversation and a photo with a legend....Nick Ut....wow....that's all I can say....WOW!
Photo by John Birgiolas