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‘I am lucky to get a picture that changed the world’

“I am lucky to take the picture of Vietnamese girl during napalm (chemical weapon)  bombing  that shook the entire world and led to the end of  Vietnam war.”-says Nick Ut , renowned  photojournalist,who bagged the Pulitzer prize for news photography by taking that  photo. He was a staff photojournalist of the Associated Press , at that time.He was speaking to M.Rajesh,founder and news director of Calicut New Media.
Nick Ut was bit tired since he was running the whole day from one place to another to capture the lives and iconic places in the city.He was planning his next day’s hectic schedules to attend few functions  at Vatakara and Koyilandy.
Still,he offered an interview to Calicut New Media (CNM) around 9.30 pm on Saturday,March 17.
While speaking to CNM,at Hotel Raviz Kadavu,Ramanattukara,Ut shares his memorable moments in news photography.
He was in Kozhikode  to take part in some functions as the guest of the state government.

Kim Phuk,the 9 year old naked girl who was running ,terrified from a war zone,after suffering burns was one of the greatest pictures the world ever has.

 

It was in 1972,he took the image during napalm bombing in Vietnam.

His Vietnam picture created history.The whole world discussed  the photograph that shook the American government and army.
The US president Nixon rejected the photo as fake one,first.However,when the survivor Kim told the real incident, he had no  option other than trusting it.  
“I took camera at an age of 16.My brother was an AP ‘s war photographer.He died in a war.”
Huynh Thanh My, his brother,was killed in 1965 He was hit by a  bullet,while covering war. After his funeral, Ut showed up at the AP’s Saigon bureau, trying to get a job. That’s how Ut entered AP.
After retiring from the AP,he continues his profession as freelance.Now,he is contributing photos to AP and Getty images.
Ut recollects the anxious moments when he captured the Vietnam war photo of a girl,running for her life at a war zone.
 
Immediately after taking the picture,he took the child to a military hospital.It was very difficult to get treatment in such a conflict-filled situation.
The hospital was running by the American government. 
However,Ut was determined to save the girl’s life and compelled them to give immediate treatment.
Nick Ut has a clear cut vision,the need  of being a good humanitarian at conflict zones and wars.
“I was sure  that if treatment gets delayed,the girl would be no more. She was in such a serious condition.I took her,covering her body with my coat and rushed to the hospital in my car.I left to my office,only after ensuring her treatment.If she had lost her life, I  would have ended my life,too.”
 
He underscores the need of saving the lives of victims in war fronts along with photo coverage.His advice to photo journalists is “Don’t just watch people dying.Try to save lives.”
For Ut and the whole world,it was game-changer photograph.

“Every day I face death.Many times I got injured.I witness bodies of war victims.I work amid rocket hits,mine attacks,bomb droppings,explosions and direct military fight”

Ut has taken photographs from war fronts,refugee camps and border lands.His war photos tell the most cruel face of war ,where children are terrified,women are isolated,And,every war contributes complex situation ,making life worst.
War brings destruction of all kind.People are hurt both mentally and physically.
Ut contacted Kim Phuk,the Vietnamese girl after one year.It took many years to recover.Even today her body has not become normal.She is still undergoing treatment for her burnt skin.
Phuk also admires this lens-man and shows her gratitude for saving her life.They became good friends and visit each other and make calls,inquiring each families’  updates. Kim Phuk calls Ut ‘uncle’.
Ut says”She is just like my family.I will meet her next month.”
She is now turning 55 years and living with her husband Bui Huy Toan  and two sons; Stephen Bui, Thomas Bui. at Toronto in Canada.
Ut is living in California.Los Angeles Times photo editor Raul Rau accompanied Ut during his Kerala visit. 
Photos:K.Rajagopal and special arrangement

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