Eddie Adams is one of the most well-known and regarded photojournalists of the 20th century, most acclaimed for his photographs of the Vietnam War. Adams won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his iconic image of General Nguy?n Ng?c Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner (most often known as "Saigon Execution").
Eddie Adams is one of the most well-known and regarded photojournalists of the 20th century, most acclaimed for his photographs of the Vietnam War. Adams won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his iconic image of General Nguy?n Ng?c Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner (most often known as “Saigon Execution”).
The photographs and quotes by Adams on display at the Dublin Arts Center do capture the horrific nature of war — especially the brutality of Vietnam — and for that, the exhibit is tough to view but commendable. Adams had a true knack for finding humanity — and lack thereof.
There are faces draped in fear, as parents dive to the ground, covering their children from the incoming sniper fire. That image is particularly distressing because one child’s face is peeking through the grass, and there’s nothing but terror and confusion present.
Adams’ famed “Saigon Execution” photo is also displayed. It’s one we’ve all seen many times. It still never fails to hurt. But there is also a proof sheet showing all the images leading up to that moment. This collection of rarely seen images will stay with the viewer for a long time.
So, yes, those visiting this exhibit should be aware that many of these images are graphic and do literally depict the casualties of war. One should prepare him or herself before visiting.
But there are also some uplifting and candid moments of spirit. The image (pictured) of six Marines heading to bathe — dressed in only towels, but still armed — shows that despite all the horror occurring all around, the minutiae of life never stops.
Another moment of levity comes in an image of a GI lighting some firecrackers a Vietnamese girl is holding. It’s possibly my favorite in this exhibit because it’s taken only days before the Tet Offensive — when the sounds those fireworks make take on a completely different context.
The exhibit also features some interactive elements in an audio timeline of music from the year viewers can listen to on an MP3 player, and a video feedback booth. You can live your own reflection, or hear those of others. Try both.
Photo by Eddie Adams