October 13, 2010
They say a picture can speak a thousand words, but really, does every picture do this? Even if a picture is historically documented, does this cliché still apply? The photograph Murder of a Vietcong by Saigon Police Chief taken by Eddie Adams in 1968 does not speak a thousand words, but maybe more, it represents the cruelty that both sides of war are endowed with. It has a politically historical background that makes one wonder what is right about this picture, that the South Vietnamese and American military were doing more bad than good to win the war and what morals were taken into consideration when this picture was captured. Also, when seeing an image, it can appear to be easily analyzed and understood, but in reality every photograph has a story behind it and a deeper meaning that to what is literally depicted. The photograph, Murder of a Vietcong by Saigon Police Chief, by Eddie Adams captures a dramatic scene of South Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan about to shoot a prisoner. The story behind the photo is that the prisoner had ordered a death quad to murder South Vietnamese officers or their families. And so the General was the one to complete the execution, which happened to be captured and was going to be published and shown worldwide (Grundberg).
Fig. Eddie Adams. Murder of a Vietcong by Saigon Police Chief. Web. October 13, 2010. The prisoner looks exhausted, dirty and timorous. The gun is at point blank only a few inches from the prisoner’s head and all the subjects of the photo look like they have been fighting hard at war. The setting is in the middle of a street, which makes the demonstration very public and humiliating for the hostage. It was taken in black and white which makes it even that much more dramatic. The two main subjects cover the entire photo and there is not much detail other than the buildings on the street. But by viewing it, one can see that there are indeed...