Photographer behind ‘napalm girl’ photo awarded US’s National Medal of Arts

Former Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, who took the famous ‘napalm girl’ photo, received the National Medal of Arts at the White House on January 13 for his decades of contributions to wartime photojournalism.

The award is the highest honour given to artists and arts patrons by the US government. It is awarded by the US President to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the country.

Ut, born in 1951 in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province of Long An, currently lives in the US.

The photographer is known best for his iconic “Terror of War” pictures from the war in Vietnam that helped heighten awareness of the conflict. The shocking photo, often dubbed ‘napalm girl’, was captured in 1972, depicting Phan Thi Kim Phuc, a nine-year-old girl running naked along the road crying from burns inflicted by a napalm bomb dropped by the US in the southern province of Tay Ninh. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973.

The photo shocked the world when it was sent four hours later by the AP office in Sai Gon to AP headquarters in New York, igniting an anti-American war movement in the US and Europe. It also changed Phuc’s life. As a war victim, she has travelled around the world to talk about the American war in Vietnam as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Source: Vietnam News Agency