I was five years old in 1972 when the photo that perhaps planted the seeds for what would be a professional pursuit in photography appeared on the front page of every major newspaper in America.
You do not even have to know the context of the shot, because the image of 9-year old Kim Phuc running naked down a road, fearing for her life, is moving as it was when it was taken 43 years ago.
It is held by many that the image took part in hastening the end of the Vietnam War.
The power of a single image cannot be understated.
A close examination of this iconic photo reveals it is not a technically sound image at all. Shot in black and white and obviously on the fly, it is grainy and out of focus in many places. But the story it tells and the reach of its indelible impact surpasses that of the most tack-sharp of images, even by the standards of the day it was shot. It demonstrates in quite poignant and photographic prose that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.
With today’s technology and advances in image gathering, much has changed. There are boundless capabilities and possibilities in photography today, both in image capture and alteration. I’d wager, were old Ansel Adams alive today, he’d be indulging in it all.
But what has not changed is the environment, both physically and socially, from which these images are drawn, and so long as there remain those who would take up the lens, there will remain boundless possibilities of imagery for the foreseeable future. I, for one, am giddy at the notion.
Which is why I am quite happy to announce that as The Independent presses forward into its twentieth year we have launched a vanguard of a new website that will include not only our cutting-edge writing and event coverage but a new photo section that I have the privilege of heading up as the new photo editor.
We here at The Indy have never shied away from the controversial or the taboo, and we intend to maintain that edge in our photo section. We are seeking photographers to join our ranks and submit images and essays that depict a story, be it what you see, and participate in taking this rag to a new level of relevance in the market of publishing to an audience who gives a shit.
Contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
See you out there.