Custom Search

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Photography: Hugh van Es 1941-2009

Hubert van Es was a Dutch photojournalist who took a well know photograph of South Vietnamese civilians scrambling onto a C.I.A helicopter on the day before the fall of Siagon. During the days after the evacuation when the U.S troops has left, "Hugh" was said to be walking around with a camouflaged hat with a Dutch flag on it, written across it was "Bao Chi Ha Lan" (Dutch Press).

"Around 2:30 in the afternoon, while I was working in the darkroom, I suddenly heard Bert Okuley shout, "Van Es, get out here, there's a chopper on that roof!" I grabbed my camera and the longest lens left in the office - it was only 300 millimeters, but it would have to do - and dashed to the balcony. He described the event as follows:

"Looking at the Pittman Apartments, I could see 20 or 30 people on the roof, climbing the ladder to an Air America Huey helicopter. At the top of the ladder stood an American in civilian clothes, pulling people up and shoving them inside. Of course, there was no possibility that all the people on the roof could get into the helicopter, and it took off with 12 or 14 on board. (The recommended maximum for that model was eight.) Those left on the roof waited for hours, hoping for more helicopters to arrive. To no avail. The enemy was closing in. I remember looking up to the sky and giving a short prayer. After shooting about 10 frames, I went back to the darkroom to process the film and get a print ready for the regular 5 p.m. transmission to Tokyo from Saigon's telegraph office." Taken from HUBERT VAN ES (April 29, 2005). "Thirty Years at 300 Millimeters". New York Times.

Hugh van Es was born in Hilversum, Netherlands on the 6th july 1941 and spent most his later life after Vietnam in Hong Kong. He also went on to photograph other conflicts including the Moro Rebellion in the Philippines and the Soviet invasion of Afganistan. On the 15th of May 2009 in Queen Marys Hospital Hong Kong, Hubert van Es died of a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 67. His photographs in turn will live on forever, and his name will never be forgotten.


No comments:

Post a Comment