In the progress of my research I recently came upon a video interview with Eddie Adams. He goes into detail about the moments going through his head when General Loan executed the Vietcong prisoner, Bay Lop. He talks about how he saw Loan reach for his pistol so he grabbed his camera and snapped a picture as soon as Loan brought his pistol up. Coincidentally this was the same time Loan pulled the trigger. This makes me visualize how fast this scene must of happened. It appears that Loan did not think too long about his decision to take someone’s life.
While listening to Adams talk about the photo I realize how incredibly humble he is. “Anybody there could of taken the picture. I had nothing to do with that. It happened and I was there,” Adams says. He continues to talk about how he had no idea what he just captured. He took it to the office and said, “I think I got someone getting shot,” then leaves for lunch. It wasn’t a big deal he was just in the presence of a murder. He says, “I took the picture and it was like so what? People were getting shot like they do in all wars.” Adams continues later with, “I’ve seen many people die, he was one of many people killed that day.” Like I’ve mentioned in other posts, he was extremely upset that he ruined Loan’s career. He goes on to say, “I never wanted to hurt anybody.”
Another interesting fact I learned is the mindset of these Vietnam War photographers. They had a job to do like everybody else and they didn’t get paid if they didn’t do their job well. Adams talked about a saying that went around in the beginning years of the war that went like, “If we are lucky we will get ambushed.” This is from the standpoint of photographers in that they need life threatening pictures that will make newspapers and make them money. They don’t get paid for taking pictures of troops just walking around being bored. If they weren’t getting fired at it wasn’t exciting enough. This goes a long ways to say what Americans were interested in. These images are the ones that make front pages of newspaper across the world.