Horst Faas photographed everything from wars in Algeria and the Congo to the 1972 Munich Olympics and much more, but he was most noted for his work in Vietnam and later the horrific conflict in Bangladesh, twice winning both the Pulitzer Prize for Photography(1965, 1972) and the vaunted Robert Capa Gold Medal (1964, 1997). By all accounts he was responsible for setting new standards for war photography. His photographs in general displayed a gritty realism and his images from Vietnam in particular depicted the execrable effects of the war on both sides of what he called “this little bloodstained country so far away.” He was chief of photo operations for the AP in Saigon from 1962 to 1972. In 1967 he was seriously wounded by a rocket propelled grenade that nearly took his life; but even then, forced out of the field and confined to a desk he was pivotal in insisting that two controversial (and ultimately iconic) photographs were distributed over the AP wire: Eddie Adam’s “Saigon Execution” and Nick Ut’s “Accidental Napalm.” He was the AP’s senior editor for Europe until his retirement in 2004.
At NCN we mourn his passing and celebrate his vital contributions to the public art of photojournalism under the most difficult of circumstances.
Photo Credits: Horst Faas/AP