For much of the world, the visual history of the Vietnam War has been defined by a handful of iconic photographs: Eddie Adams’ image of a Viet Cong fighter being executed, Nick Ut’s picture of nine-year-old Kim Phúc fleeing a napalm strike, Malcolm Browne’s photo of Thích Quang Duc self-immolating in a Saigon intersection.
Many famous images of the war were taken by Western photographers and news agencies, working alongside American or South Vietnamese troops.
But the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had hundreds of photographers of their own, who documented every facet of the war under the most dangerous conditions.
Almost all were self-taught, and worked for the Vietnam News Agency, the National Liberation Front, the North Vietnamese Army or various newspapers. Many sent in their film anonymously or under a nom de guerre, viewing themselves as a humble part of a larger struggle.
We had to be extremely careful because we had limited amounts of film that had been distributed to us by our paper. For us, one photo was like a bullet.
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