Kerala

Napalm girl's photographer Nick Ut walks into Kerala, the ‘fish country’

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The celebrated photographer who made the world take notice of the Vietnam war with his 'The terror of war' click was in Kerala in March; his camera got trained on the fish landing centres that dot the coastline.

Nick Ut shot an iconic photograph on June 8, 1972 outside Trang Bang, near Saigon, when the South Vietnamese Air Force dropped napalm bombs on the village. The photograph of a screaming nine-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc, running along with a group of children to escape the devastating effect of the bombs, wea a defining moment of the Vietnam war.

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(Nick Ut's iconic photo)

Featured here is a collection of photographs shot by Mr. Ut of the Kerala coast in March. The celebrated photographer was in the State, along with Raul Roa, Photo Editor of Los Angeles Times, as an official guest of the Kerala Media Academy, Kochi, an autonomous institution under the State Government. He was amazed by the popularity he enjoys in the State, and how the "napalm girl" is well remembered there. Kerala honoured the photographer for the way he changd the fate of a war by just one click.

"Kerala is God's Own Country as I heard about... and the people fascinate me, making me come down again and again. It's a photographer's paradise. I could see here a totality of wide-ranging life, which I have seen in different countries in my whole life. The charming seashores and the fishing community, the vegetation and markets, a variety of amazing cultural activities and the land's own arts, the festive moods of the most-loving and highly accomplished people enticed me. I could see a resemblance between Kerala and my country, Vietnam, in landscapes and farming style. While seeing every district, I felt a nostalgic experience," Mr. Ut told The Hindu.

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(Nick Ut. Photo: Shaju John)

"We travelled from Thiruvananthapuram to Thalassery, meeting many wonderful people, eating their food and visiting their temples, churches and mosques. We visited many press clubs and newspapers. We were treated like family at every place and met a lot of people," he said.

He said the warmth of Kerala had to be experienced and he could not forget the many respected people who welcomed him into their homes.

Welcoming people

"We met many wonderful artists like Mohanlal, Mammootty, Oscar winner Resul Pookkutty and prominent writers like Arundhati Roy and many other important people like the Chief Minister and the State police chief, who gave up protection and escorts 24x7. We are humbled by such wonderful treatment and we also thank the many more people I have left out here in this post. And we cannot forget to thank the people of Kerala! Everyone was very welcoming, nice and accepting of us. Everywhere we went people waited for us. Everywhere we went, we were fed and given unconditional love. Kerala, you are amazing and we hope to see you soon," the celebrated photographer said.

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