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Huynh Cong Ut, a professional photojournalist, was born in the southern Mekong Delta province of Long An Long An, French Indochina, on March 29, 1951. During his 7th year of working for Associated Press, he became known as Nick Ut by his colleagues. Huynh Cong Ut was 14 years old when he was introduced to the Associated Press office in Saigon. His younger b
Nick Ut
rother, Hyunh Thanh, who was also an AP photojournalist had been killed a few weeks earlier (on October 10, 1965) when photographing combat action in the Mekong Delta. Horst Faas and Henry Uet hired Ut on January 1, 1966, after he completed a trial period of six weeks. Huynh Cong Ut first worked in the AP mixing and processing chemicals to develop other photographer’s pictures.

He said that he loved the darkroom. In an interview with Horst Faas and Maurine Fulton, Nick Ut remembered his time in the darkroom and said, "I could print the picture by myself and see how the photographer had taken it. I never took a class in photography, I learned by seeing the photographers' work and what every day war looked like" (

Without any skills in photography, Ut set out in 1967 with Leica and Nikon Cameras. He became a news photographer and took photos during the communist Tetin South Vietnam. During the Cambodian Campaign he was wounded twice (in the stomach and in the upper right chest area). On June 8, 1972, in the village of Trang Bang, about 25 miles outside of Saigon, the Republic of Vietnam Air (VNAV, South Vietnamese Air force) began their attacks by bombing, strafing, and use of napalm on the village. Ut and other photographers heard the screams and saw the people running from Trang Bang. Several children and villagers caught the attention of Ut, including a 9-year-old young girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, who had ripped off her clothes to escape from the flames. After he took a photo of her, he poured water in an attempt to ease the girl’s pain and drove her to a nearby hospital for medical assistance. He was also wounded. "I rushed towards the area where I knew Kim Phuc was when a mortar exploded in front of me. I was hit. My colleagues rushed me to the hospital. I still have some shrapnel in my leg." Nick said (

Napalm Girl

In his seventh year with The Associated Press, 21 year old Huynh Cong Ut took one of the most recognized photographs of the conflict in Vietnam, winning journalism’s highest honor, The Pulitzer Prize for Photography in 1973 for his picture of the then 9-year-old girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, running away from the fire of napalm and screaming in pain. The photograph changed the lives of both the photographer, Huynh Cong Ut, and his subject the "napalm girl" from Trang Bang, Phan Thi Kim Phuc.The photograph also won awards from World Press Photo, Sigma Delta Chi, the George Polk Memorial, Overseas Press Club and the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME). In 1977 he arrived in Los Angeles and continued to work as an AP photographer on general assignment work in several countries, such as Japan and South Korea. Now Ut lives in Canada with his family who have all become American citizens.

A "Napalm Girl" photograph has received responses from many sides, including president Richard Nixon. He doubted the authenticity of the photo. An article from stated that White House audiotapes captured a 1972 conversation between Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. "Bob" Haldeman: "I'm wondering if that was fixed," Nixon says. To which Haldeman replies, "Could have been" ( Meanwhile, Ut replied Nixon’s responded, he said, "Even though it has become one of the most memorable images of the twentieth century, President Nixon once doubted the authenticity of my photograph when he saw it in the papers on June 12, 1972.... The picture for me and unquestionably for many others could not have been more real. The photo was as authentic as the Vietnam war itself. The horror of the Vietnam war recorded by me did not have to be fixed. That terrified little girl is still alive today and has become an eloquent testimony to the authenticity of that photo. That moment thirty years ago will be one Kim Phuc and I will never forget. It has ultimately changed both our lives" His photo almost wasn’t published by Associated Press, because it was considered as frontal nudity. However, his photograph has news value and becomes an “anti-war” symbol. Moreover, “napalm girl” having huge effects for Vietnam. After the photo was released on media, critical protests from people around the world forced Nixon to stop the war. Although the war did not stop directly, then finally, government withdrew American troops from Vietnam on April 30, 1975. “Napalm Girl” has changed Vietnam beyond what Ut’s imagined. He even didn’t know that his photo would generate many reactions from over the world about the war.

Ut worked in war area for eight years and now works for the Associated Press bureau's Los Angeles office in Hollywood and submits courtroom photographs of celebrities or high-profile legal cases. His images continue to adorn newspapers and websites around the world. On June 8, 2007, 35 years after his Napalm Girl photo in
Paris Hilton/Nick Ut
Vietnam, he shot Hollywood artist, Paris Hilton. In the photo, Paris was pictured crying in the police car when she was going to the Los Angeles court because of her traffic violationsUt also covered Brian Banks’ (Long Beach Football Star) case. Banks was exonerated in court and Ut shot Banks who cried after his conviction for 10 years in jail. Recently, Ut covered a story about a 14-year-old boy who shot an ICE agent in California. The pictures show the situation around his house. Obviously, Nick Ut is not only an expert in war photography. He can capture photos in any situation and make people feel the emotions of the situation being photographed.

Development of technology and the Internet helped photojournalists in their work, including Nick Ut. He has a facebook account ( and an email to interact with fellow photographers, and even his fans have made him a facebook fan page
( In addition, many bloggers and websites tell the story of his life, especially the story about the “Napalm Girl.” The history of the Vietnam war, and many interview videos of him are also uploaded on Youtube. Recently, Ut and Kim Phuc celebrated 40 years of the "Napalm Girl" photo. He reunited with Kim Phuc and other journalists. The event is covered not only by print or electronic media, but also by online media, such as the Associated Press, ABC news, The Chronicle Herald, and many more. With the help of the Internet and technology, now his photos (Vietnam war, Hollywood celebrities, and others) can be accessed and seen easily by us

Ut has been working and capturing images with his favorite tool (camera) until now. It made me curious why he always useit and not change to a video shooting. So, On June 12, 2012, I sent email to Nick Ut ( I asked him What do you think about the advances in digital technology and online initiatives in your career? Why do you choose camera as your tool to get your image rather than video shooting? have you ever changed to video digital when do your job?” Surprisingly, on June 13 Ut replied my email. “During Vietnam war I shoot more film, and when I working in Los Angeles from 1977 to 1995, my company change to digital, when digital beginning not very good, but today digital camera for my job the best, I don't need darkroom any more, when I take pictures next my 5 minish see Yahoo or Google or on news on television right away, old day shoot film wait to long, I like take more picture ten use video camera, more young photographer today use video camera for story.” From his email, using camera is more efficient than video shooting for him. He can upload and send his images to AP, Facebook, and other media quickly. Internet and technology make his job more flexible clearly.

Nick Ut & Kim Phuc
In conclusion, as a photojournalist, Ut has given big impacts to the world and people. He saved Kim Phuc’s live, regardless of his life and career. Because of him, now Phuc can bring a peace by establishing Kim Phuc Foundation. The foundation aim to provide medical and psychological for victims war. She traveled to some places to share her story. She also wrote a book in 1999, met queen Elizabeth, and became UN Nation Goodwill Ambassador to help war victims. How if Ut doesn’t capture Phuc in Trang Bang? Could Phuc still alive if she doesn’t meet him? It proved that Ut not only do his job, but also concern about the humanity. He struggles for people around him and believes that every individual has rights to live.

Faas, Horst., Fulton, Marianne. Nick Ut-Still a photographer with the Associated Press: Digital Journalist. Retrieved from

Mason, Margie. (June 10, 2012). Napalmed girl now works for peace:Heral Arts & Life. Retrieved from

Risling, Greg. (May 3, 2012). Son, 14, Arrested in Calif, Shooting of ICE Agent: Associated Press. Retrieved from

Roderick, Kevin. (May 24, 2012). Brian Banks Exonerated in Court, by AP’s Nick Ut: LA Observed. Retrieved from

Ono, David. (June 2, 2012). “Napalm Girl” photo from Vietnam War turns 40: David Ono hosts special, ‘Witness: Power of Picture”: ABC world news. Retrieved from

Press, Associated. (June 9, 2012). AP’s ‘napalm girl’ thanks those who saved her on the photograph 40th anniversary: The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Popphoto Staff, (June 8, 2007). Nick Ut exacly 35 years later: Popphoto News. Retrieved from

Tucker, C, Spencer. (2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political Social, and Military History (p 1219): google books. Retrieved from

Walker, Theresa. (May 31, 2012). Forty years later, ‘Napalm Girl’ speaks in O.C: The Orange Register Life. Retrieved from