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Photographer's Note

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got LOST



This is one of the pictures I shot while covering the retaking of Quang Tri City in the DMZ during one of the most fierce and bloody battles 35 years ago. My military unit broke up as Danang city fell on March 29, 1975 when I was on the streets taking pictures of the turmoil for the Associated Press. A friend of mine who — with me — was in charge of the battalion's darkroom knew that I have no way to return to pick up my belongings. Before surrendering all equipments to the winners, he evacuated my films and prints and relocated to a strange village where nobody could recognize him, making himself a farmer. Under the new regime, he destroyed anything that could cost him his life and even changed his name. We got lost each other for 31 years until a few months ago, he found my address from another friend. He wrote me that he is fine, and he regrets that he had burned all my prints and negatives — except one; this one — because he could not predict President Clinton will arrive to Vietnam in November 2000 to turn enemy into friend.

Last December, I posted the B&W print made from the recovered negative, and sent him a hard copy since he knows nothing about computer or photoshop (no email, no internet, no digital). He then wrote back to me with his critique that the B&W copy looks too new and doesn’t represent a past of three and half decades. He recommended me to buy chemicals to dye it into sepia tone and asked me to send him such a copy.

My poor friend! He got lost again. He doesn’t realize that turning a B&W photo into sepia only requires a few quick clicks, so today is a repost dedicated to my friend who saved the original negative. I am going to see him in ‘Nam in the next few weeks and will bring an enlargement to him — hopefully this time he will smile.




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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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