Feb 042012

Eddie Adams

| Vietnam |

Vietnam. © Eddie Adams

1/500th of a Second

Can a photo change the world?  Its a good question.  Most photographers agree that at one point in their careers they believed it was possible for one of their photographs to change the world.  Its a noble belief.  But after years of experience, its rare to find someone who holds on to this idea.  Eddie Adams did believe it was possible.  I think regardless of the answer, its a question worth asking when you pick up a camera.  Maybe its an unattainable goal or a Zen koan.  There might not be an answer, but that wont stop us from exploring the possibilities of 1/500th of a second.

Portrait of Eddie Adams

Portrait of Eddie in Vietnam. Credit? Anyone?

“The most powerful weapon in the world has been,

and can be a photograph.  Military weapons can

only destroy.  Cameras, in the hands of photographers

with hearts can capture Love-Hope-Passion-Change

lives and make the world a better place…and it only

takes 1/500th of a second.  Life goes on-We photograph

it.  But its much better with Love.”

— Eddie Adams

“An Unlikely Weapon”

An Unlikely Weapon: The Eddie Adams Story

An Unlikely Weapon: The Eddie Adams Story

An Unlikely Weapon

The documentary on Eddie Adams and his life’s work is outstanding.  It will get you riled up, make you nostalgic, inspire you, and make you misty eyed.  Its worth every swing of the emotional pendulum.  Its also available on Netflix for US residents.

Best-Adam Marelli

  2 Responses to “Can A Photo Change The World”

  1. I saw the whole video. It’s interesting that to Adams himself, that iconic photo fails in many technical ways.

    • Hey Richard,
      Yes, the video is great and Adams has an interesting personality, rough but charming all at the same time.
      His reactions to the Vietnam photo are often over shadowed. He totally acknowledges the technical short comings and most of the time, it seems like he would rather have not taken the shot. I find that most people fall into the trap of chasing “once in a lifetime lottery shots.” When in reality, there are photos which are so powerful emotionally that the technical aspects can be less than perfect. But what is the sense in shooting a whole career for one photo that may happen. its a backwards logic.
      When you add to that that Adams did not like the shot and it bothered him, you have to ask yourself, “Would you really like to take a picture at the moment a man is killed?” Is it worth the recognition? Its for everyone to decide. The rest of Adams career was marked with good pictures, both conceptually and visually. And he gave back to younger photographers with his workshops. He gave us a lot to live up to.

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