Lesson #324: Henri Huet’s Death

My best friend is on a press tour in the Middle East right now, which is awesome for him (and for me because, ever since he went to war school a few years back, I’ve been dying for him to go be a war photographer so I can live vicariously through him — his wife is decidedly less enthusiastic about the whole thing). Combat photography is the job I most want to do that is outside of my skill set; I find it fascinating, which, if you’ve been paying attention at all, shouldn’t surprise you.

Anyway, he posted a bunch of photographs from Afghanistan this afternoon, including an image that immediately made me think of this photograph French photojournalist Henri Huet made in Vietnam:

Door Gunner, Vietnam -- Henri Huet

From there, I wound up revisiting One Ride with Yankee Papa 13, the absolutely stunning photoessay Larry Burrows shot for LIFE magazine in March of 1965.*

At some point in my reading, I learned that Henri Huet was killed on the same chopper that killed Burrows (and two other photojournalists) when it went down over Laos in 1971. I have no idea how that piece of information slid through the cracks of my knowledge, but somehow it did. I knew Huet had been killed while working in Vietnam, but the how and where weren’t in my knowledge bank.

If you’re interested in checking out some of Huet’s photographs, see here. I’m quite fond of the shot of the soldiers holding their guns above the water to keep them from getting wet. In the rain. I find it interesting that none of the Guardian’s shots are of his (arguably) most famous subjects, medics James Callahan (left image) and Thomas Cole (right image with the eye patch).

*That essay includes among its shots an image that wasn’t published at the time (but obviously since has been) that is probably my favourite image of all time because it’s gorgeously composed and everything about its contents is wrong.

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