Veteran Associated Press war photographer Horst Faas, who was known for his images of the Vietnam War, has died at the age of 79. German-born Faas oversaw AP’s photo operations in Saigon for a decade from 1962, during the height of the combat, in a career that spanned nearly half a century.
Associated Press said he died in Munich on Thursday. The news agency said he had been paralysed from the waist down since suffering a spinal haemorrhage in Hanoi in 2005.
When Faas accepted the first of his two Pulitzer prizes in 1965, he had said his mission had been to “record the suffering, the emotions and the sacrifices of both Americans and Vietnamese in … this little blood-stained country so far away” ::::
Faas won a second Pulitzer in 1972 for pictures of torture and executions in Bangladesh. Faas retired in 2004.
“Horst was one of the great talents of our age, a brave photographer and a courageous editor who brought forth some of the most searing images of this century,” AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll said.
“He was a stupendous colleague and a warm and generous friend.”
Faas was born in Berlin in 1933 and his life was marked by war from an early age.
He recalled witnessing Allied air raids on the German capital and being told to stand to attention in class as the teacher read out the names of local men who had “died for fuhrer and fatherland”.
He began his combat photography career in the Congo in 1960 before making his first trip to Vietnam two years later.
He was known for mentoring young photographers and oversaw a ‘Horst’s army’ of young freelancers.
Badly wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade in 1967, he was on crutches during the 1968 Tet Offensive but ran AP’s photo operations from its Saigon bureau as fighting raged in the city.
Among his proteges was Huynh Cong “Nick” Ut, who won a Pulitzer prize in 1972 for his famous photo of a young Vietnamese girl fleeing after a napalm attack.
image: afp-jeff pachoud