I last wrote on this website at the end of last year. It’s now 2014. So, before this new year gets too old lemme be one of the 1st to wish y’all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
New years should bring new articles/topics to write about, you’d think. The catalyst for my new article comes from 1)the cover story of the current LA Weekly (LAW), and, 2)I’ve actually met with the subject of the LAW article.
Y’all likely remember this famous/infamous photo taken in 1972 during the Vietnam War, (with “Napalm Girl” Kim Phuc posing now as an adult in the foreground):
The now famous photographer was Nick Ut of the Associated Press. Nick, a Vietnamese, was looking for that one shot which would “end the war”, or as the LAW article called it, “the shot of a lifetime”! The following year the war would be officially over, and, that shot has followed the life of photographer Ut since.
His shot of the young girl running in pain, naked, out of a napalm bombing won him the Pulitzer Prize for photojournalism. He was only 22.
Ut was in his 60s when I finally learned who took the photograph, thanks to a mutual friend & news reporter. Later, I would notice him a couple of times when I was out & about. Yet I was aware of the sometimes burden of fame & people always wanting some of his time so I’d avoided introducing myself besides just saying, “Hi.”
That changed when I was at a Tournament of Roses (PTOR) event to announce the 2015 Grand Marshall (GM). Until last year I never attended this particular PTOR event despite my “white-suiter” friends making mention of it to me. I’ll write about that 2014 GM event, sooner or later, since I may have had a small part to play in the naming of Vin Scully as GM, haha!
So, here I am at the 2015 GM introduction, and I notice a few people who I usually don’t notice at PTOR events: Pasadena’s Mayor, Police Chief & Fire Chief. And, Nick Ut, who I’ve never seen before at a PTOR event:
I try to avoid getting in the way of professional photographers trying to do their job among amateurs & paparazzi fighting them for position, unlike some “Iphone shutterbugs.” My photo above captures four pros, including Ut, doing their job capturing the 2015 GM the late, great Louis Zamperini. I’ve been lucky to meet & speak “shop” with these pros. Nick Ut is one. Next time I’ll talk about another – sooner or later…
Afterwards, I was getting refreshed by getting my monies worth of PTOR hospitality via downing as much catered food & drink as fast I could, short of a Dog Haus or Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. I noticed Nick Ut at my shoulder next to me with the same idea. So I said something like, “You probably don’t remember me but we exchanged “Hello’s” at some other event.” Before another word could be said, some official chimed in to say something like, “You know that’s Nick Ut. He’s a famous photographer. He took that famous shot of that little girl napalmed in the Vietnam War and won a Pulitzer Prize for it!”
I replied, “Yes, I know. Congrats again, Mr. Ut!” Then I asked Nick when was the last time he saw our mutual friend – the news reporter who made me aware of who he is – and he said, “Oh, I haven’t seen her in over a year…” I was afraid that would be the reply. Anyway, our small talk ended, I think, with me asking him for a photo tip.
This is an all too brief and incomplete a way of introducing you to the thrilling LAW article on Nick Ut. A sort of condensed biography of the man who lives here in the San Gabriel Valley. Please grab the current issue of LAW out on newsstands now or read all about it at this link: Nick Ut’s Shot of a Lifetime! A must read!
Lemme know what you thought of the LAW article! And, if you ever see Nick Ut out shooting some event say, “Hello” & “Thanks!”
Gotta Go. Have a Happy 2014!