Monday, July 6, 2009

Read: Requiem Edited by Horst Faast and Tim Page

Read: Requiem: by the photographers who died in Vietnam and Indochina edited by Horst Faast and Tim Page, 1997, 0679456570.

I cam across this when I ran across either a reference to Sean Flynn or Yankee Papa 13 and Larry Burrows. I did a search on the catalog and found this book. It's a coffee table sized tribute to all the photojournalists who were killed during the Vietnam War from 1954 to 1975.

I really neat book with lots of photos by the deceased and brief stories and biographies of some of the photographers. I was most impressed by the photos of Henri Huet whose black and white shots were really good. Burrows' work is famous whether you've heard of his name or not; but, after having seen Burrows' photos so much the new-to-me shots by Huet were pretty neat.

Sean Flynn still gets attention 37 years after his disappearance in Cambodia. Being the son of Errol Flynn gets most of the attention. Flynn was an adventurer as much as photographer but, as the book says, his photography was all that mattered, and his photography mattered. I first heard of the guy when catching part of movie on tv, Frankie's House, which is a biopic about editor Tim Page.

One photographer, Jean Peraud, disappeared while trying to escape from the Viet Minh after the surrender of Dien Bien Phu. Peraud and another guy jumped from a truck transferring the POWs. Peraud was a spy for the French Resistance during WW Two and was caught and sent to a concentration camp. Peraud told his colleague before the tried to escape that he was sure he could not survive another captivity.

Great stories and impressive bravery by the men and women listed. I knew Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge was brutal but the time before was pretty damn bad, too. "The greatest mistake ever made about Cambodians was to believe that they were gentle. Behind the famous Khmer smile of the tourist brochures was a savagery and cruelty that were breathtaking." Pages 288-289 have a photo of three Khmer captives with the Cambodian Army. The captives are bloody and stoic looking. But, as the photo caption says, the captives are likely terrified into subservience and stillness. The caption also says the two women and a man were subsequently "stripped, violated, and murdered."

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