The ‘Napalm Girl’, 40 years later
Joe McNally, who was commissioned by LIFE magazine to find and photograph subjects of Pulitzer Prize winning photos, shot Kim Phuc – the girl running from an airborne attack in this devastatingly iconic shot during the Vietnam War.
The original photo was taken by AP photographer Nick Ut, and turned Kim into a propaganda tool for the anti-war movement. Joe had the privilege of meeting and photographing Kim, who had recently given birth to her newborn son. Joe knew to treat the situation with care, since showcasing her scars from the napalm burn was significant.
“For me, doing this assignment reconfirmed so many things I’ve always believed about photography,” says Joe in his blog post “On a Road, 40 Years Ago“. “That photo made on that horrible day was made in less than a second. Yet a lifetime spun on its power. With so many photographs being taken everywhere, easily, and thoughtlessly, it’s easy to forget how powerful they can be, and occasionally are.”