Eddie Adams (June 12, 1933 – September 19, 2004) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American photographer and photojournalist noted for portraits of celebrities and politicians and his coverage of 13 wars.
Adams served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War as a combat photographer. One of his assignments was to photograph the entire Demilitarized Zone from end to end immediately following the war. This took him over a month to complete.
He once said, “I would have rather been known more for the series of photographs I shot of 48 Vietnamese refugees who managed to sail to Thailand in a 30-foot boat, only to be towed back to the open seas by Thai marines.” The photographs, and accompanying reports, helped persuade then President Jimmy Carter to grant the nearly 200,000 Vietnamese boat people asylum. He won the Robert Capa Gold Medal from the Overseas Press Club in 1977 for this series of photographs in his photo essay, “The Boat of No Smiles” (Published by AP). Adams remarked, “It did some good and nobody got hurt.”
Eddie Adams took pictures of many different things. He took pictures of many different celebrities from Fidel Castro to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Some of his most famous work came during the Vietnam war. One of his picture is really famous most people when they think of Vietnam they think of this picture. The picture is of a South Vietnam general in Saigon and he is executing a Viet Cong leader. Adams won the Pulitzer prize for this photograph.
Arnett calls his pictures in the streets of Saigon “brilliant piece of photography.” The courage he has to stand a foot or two from a murderous officer who had a pistol out and shot the man in front of him. Most of Eddie Adams work was done in black and white. He was a really good photographer because during the Vietnam war the way he put emphasis on storytelling, it brought a whole new way to photograph war. I think his war photos are really good, he gets really close to the pictures he is taking. He almost acts like he is not in a war.
Adams, who considers himself a patriot and a marine, never thought with the fact that the anti-war movement saw that photograph as proof the Vietnam war was unjustified. Adams believed until the end of his life that the picture only told part of the truth. The untold story was that on the day of the execution. Adams was a very good photographer and has many good photos on a topic interested in.