Award-Winning Photojournalists Visit CSUSB By Laura Hernandez and Linda White

On Oct. 9, award-winning photojournalists Nick Ut and Raul Roa shared their stories with California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) faculty and students, in a conversational format on stage at the SMSU Theater.

Nick ut's Pulitzer Prize-winning Photograph "Terror of war"

Nick Ut’s 1972 Pulitzer Prize winning photograph the, “Terror of War,” (commonly referred to as the Napalm Girl) was a central focus of Ut’s talk which highlighted his 51 years as an Associated Press (AP) photographer.

Ut, a Vietnam native, began his photojournalism career in 1965, just weeks after his beloved brother, Huynh Thanh My, also an AP photographer, was killed during combat photography.

Huynh Thanh My in vietnam

Ut’s photos capture the agony and horror of war, but none more poignantly than the, “Terror of War,” which graphically demonstrates the impact of battle on men, women and children, and in this case most particularly, a 9-year old girl by the name of Phan Thi Kim Phuc.

The photo, taken on June 8, 1972, often referred to as “Napalm Girl,” was captured by Ut just as the Mekong Delta, Trang Bang Vietnam area was being bombed with napalm.

Kim Phuc, was running down Highway 1 from the small village in the Mekong Delta, right towards Ut and fellow photojournalists.

There were women carrying babies and other school-aged children running toward Ut, but 9-year old Kim Phuc was naked, running and screaming, “Too hot! Too hot!”

Ut saw Kim Phuc and realized that she had been burned by the napalm to the point of criticality.

He and other photojournalists poured water on Kim Phuc to ease her pain. Ut knew that if he didn’t get this little girl to a hospital quickly she would die from her injuries.

Kim Phuc and Nick Ut moments after "Terror of War" was taken.

He picked her up and along with others they went to the closest hospital for help.

If it had not been for this heroic action by Ut, Kim Phuc’s life would have surely ended on that fateful day.

Kim Phuc and Nick Ut continue to stay in contact and are very close friends.

Ut’s photo became an iconic image representing the horrors of war, and it influenced public opinion globally.

Ut is appreciated and valued by many as one of the most highly praised photojournalists in the world covering the devastation and loss of life during the Vietnam war.

Nick Ut (left) Raul ROa (Right)

Ut’s work has influenced many photojournalists, Raul Roa is one of them. Roa is an LA Times photojournalist who has spent the last 24 years covering important news, and sporting events all over Southern California.

Courtesy of Raul Roa's Instagram

He took the time to show his work and give advice to the students at CSUSB. “Bring the news to the people,” said Roa, “You are the eyes and ears of your communities, stay humble, honest and diligent.”

Courtesy of Raul Roa's Instagram

Roa’s work included strong, impacting images full of emotions. He explained the importance of taking an impactful image like the one Ut took in 1972, “Even if you affect just one person, you can change people’s minds.”

Roa addressed how the development of social media has changed the way photojournalists work, “There are images that are transcendent and it doesn’t matter whether they are online or printed. It will still impact. Social media just spreads it out farther and wider, therefore it affects more people.”

With photos now becoming permanent Roa says, “Be conscious of your subject, you have a responsibility to tell their story in a way that is impartial and reliable.”

"Obama in Glendale" by Raul Roa

Although Ut has now retired and Roa stays busy with his work, the two spend their free time together “shooting the moon.” Their astrophotography has become one of their favorite pastimes. The two have even taken to calling themselves “Lunartics.”

Between these two photojournalists, so many important events have been captured and delivered to us. Now they are capturing images beyond our planet.

"Shooting the Moon" by Raul Roa

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