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Recent Acquisitions: Vietnam Photographs

Vietnam: The Real War, Photographs from the Associated Press

Hood Quarterly, summer 2014

Last year, the Associated Press in association with Abrams published a book that looks back at the remarkable photographs taken by AP photographers during the Vietnam War. Titled Vietnam: The Real War, this compilation of photographs from the 1950s through the escalation of American involvement until the fall of Saigon in 1975 includes some of the most searing and memorable images of this or any other war. During this conflict, reporters and photographers had almost immediate access to the action. Al Greenspon, for instance, tells the story of how he jumped on an ammunition supply helicopter at the last minute to get to an area that was seeing intermittent engagement with the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) near Hue in April 1968. A photograph he took of the 101st Airborne evacuating their wounded after heavy action became the cover of the book.

In conjunction with this publication, the Associated Press has also authorized a new edition the Vietnam photographs, including works by Eddie Adams, Malcolm Browne, Horst Faas, Art Greenspon, Henri Huet, Nick Ut, Sal Veder, and Hugh Van Es. The Hood has acquired eleven of these photographs for the collection—four of them Pulitzer Prize winners and one that was published on the cover of Life magazine—which it plans to use for teaching and exhibition. The museum was aided in its selection by James Nachtwey, the renowned photojournalist and Dartmouth graduate, Class of 1970. Dartmouth associate professor of history Edward Miller has written an article of one of the Hood photographs, Malcolm Browne’s image of the immolation of the Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc on a Saigon street to protest persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government in June 1963, and plans to use this and the other works in his popular course on the Vietnam War. In addition, the Hood collection has works that complement this new acquisition, including two Vietnam war photographs by Dartmouth graduate Dick Durrance, Class of 1965, given by Jeffrey Hinman, Class of 1968; the entire sets of prints in Francisco Goya’s Disasters of War series (1810–20) and Jacques Callot’s Miseries of War (1633); prints by Otto Dix about World War I; photographs of more recent conflicts by Nachtwey, Susan Meiselas, and Stephen DuPont; and Alfredo Jaar’s signature work of the Rwandan genocide, The Eyes of Gutete Emerita. All of these works and this new acquisition will be helpful in teaching on such issues as representations of conflict and the nature of war images’ impact as well as the history and art of photography.

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