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Eddie Adams (June 12, 1933 – Sept. 18, 2004) was an American photographer and photojournalist noted for portraits of celebrities and politicians and for coverage of 13 wars. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969.
... It was while covering the Vietnam War for the Associated Press that he took his best-known photograph – the picture of police chief General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner, Nguyễn Văn Lém, on a Saigon street, on Feb. 1, 1968, during the opening stages of the Tet Offensive.
Adams won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography and a World Press Photo award for the photograph (captioned 'General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon'), but would later lament its notoriety. Writer and critic David D. Perlmutter points out that 'no film footage did as much damage as AP photographer Eddie Adams's 35mm shot taken on a Saigon street ... When people talk or write about [the Tet Offensive] at least a sentence is devoted (often with an illustration) to the Eddie Adams picture'.
Anticipating the impact of Adams's photograph, an attempt at balance was sought by editors in the New York Times. In his memoirs, John G. Morris recalls that assistant managing editor Theodore M. Bernstein "determined that the brutality manifested by America's ally be put into perspective, agreed to run the Adams picture large, but offset with a picture of a child slain by Vietcong, which conveniently came through from AP at about the same time". Nonetheless, it is Adams's photograph that is remembered while the other far less dramatic image was overlooked and soon forgotten.