A Pulitzer Prize winner, Eddie Adams is a combat photographer and photojournalist who lived from 1933 until 2004. He is well-known for photographing portraits of politicians and celebrities as well as for covering thirteen wars. His interest for photography developed while he was a teenager, assisting the high school newspaper’s photography team. Adams also photographed portraits and weddings. Adams has done a lot more photography on a range of subjects. He has done photography for book covers as well as worked on the social issues.
Adam served as a photographer in the United States Marine Corps while the Korean War was on. Among other assignments, one was to take pictures of the Demilitarized Zone that took him more than a month to finish
For the Associated Press, Adams documented the Vietnam War and during this time he made a picture that received much attention. In the photo a prisoner of Vietcong was being executed by Nguyễn Ngọc Loan, Chief Police Officer, on the Saigon road in 1968. The next year, he received an award from World Press Photo and he was also given the Pulitzer Prize for the category of Spot News Photography. This remarkable image became a topic of discussion at the time and David D. Perlmutter (critic and writer) mentioned that no photo can be compared to this single image by Eddie Adams – it has been talked about in many articles on the Tet Offensive. On this picture, Adams expressed his view in Time magazine. He said that the general of police murdered the Vietcong and in return Adams murdered the general with his camera. He described still photos as the most influential worldwide weapons. He then criticized photographs a bit by mentioning that they can be manipulative even if no post-production work has been put into them. He went on writing that a photograph tells only the half truth – one side of the story. Later on, Adams apologized the General for the irrevocable damage the photograph had done to his reputation.
Eddie Adams himself was proud of another Vietnam project. It was a series of images of forty-eight refugees from Vietnam who tried to go and settle in Thailand from the sea on a thirty foot long boat. Unfortunately, they were stopped to enter the country. When these photographs were shown by the State Department to the United State Congress, they were acknowledged and influenced the Congress to the extent that they decided to give shelter to around 200,000 refugees from South Vietnam.
After leaving the Associated Press, Adams worked as special correspondent and freelance photographer for Parade magazine. He photographed for 350 front covers for them. He made portraits of well-known personalities, such as Anwar Sadat, Mikhail Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping, Indira Gandhi, Richard Nixon, George Bush, Fidel Castro and Pope John Paul II.
Adams also worked for clients belonging to the advertising, entertainment and fashion industry. He photographed celebrities since its fun, and the heart is not hurt. He felt that he couldn’t let his heart being ripped again. By photographing celebrities, he can earn more money.
Apart from this, when it comes to winning awards, Eddie Adams has received five hundred of them, including George Polk Award, Overseas Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi, and many other.
Adams photo archive includes negatives, slides, audio visual content, prints, diaries, news stories, tear sheets and notes on topics like wars, poverty, homeless people, Mother Teresa, anti-war protests, riots and etc.
To date, Adams work is being appreciated, used and learned about in educational institutes and otherwise.