Poignant and gritty. This iconic photograph from the Vietnam War says so much with so little.
A soldier on duty smilingly looks at the camera up above as the photographer takes the shot. It’s simple, maybe even trivial but what’s really noticeable is the handwritten slogan on his helmet saying “War is Hell.” It’s a fitting title to the photograph shot by one of the world’s most talented photojournalists Horst Faas. Faas extensively covered the Vietnam War and documented the ongoing battle. This photograph was one of many pictures he took during his time on the field. The legendary photojournalist won the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for his photos.
The rakishly handsome soldier pictured was identified as Larry Wayne Chaffin. Wearing his curt smile and a helmet that freely expressed his feeling towards the war, Chaffin’s showed exactly how wars are waged – with lives of people who oppose it.
All information used in this article were sourced from Bytes.
Our intention with the Influential Photographs columns is not to glorify or demean the subject of the photo. Our intention with this column is to highlight the most influential analogue photographs of history. The photographs we feature are considered icons, for their composition, subject matter, or avant-garde artistic value.