1973 Photo Contest, World Press Photo of the Year

Nick Ut

The Associated Press

08 June, 1972

Original caption from World Press Photo (1973)
Phan Thi Kim Phuc (center) flees with other children after South Vietnamese planes mistakenly dropped napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians.

This photograph became one of the defining images of the atrocities of the Vietnam War (1955 - 1975). The depiction of full-frontal nudity was contested but editors at The Associated Press agreed that the value of the picture and the news it portrayed deemed it important to publish. Nick Ut rushed to help Phan Thi Kim Phuc and brought her and the other children to a hospital. She survived and met the photographer again after the war. They remain friends. Kim Phuc lives in Canada and is a UN goodwill ambassador. 

In an interview with Al Jazeera, she said: “I didn't like that picture at all. [In the moment] I felt ‘why did he take my picture when I was in agony, naked, so ugly. I wished that the picture wasn't taken.’ (...) [Now] I am so proud of that picture, and I consider it a really powerful gift for me to use it to work for peace."

More information
Watch Phan Thi Kim Phuc talk about this photograph in an interview with Al Jazeera on YouTube

A single photo can change the world. I know, because I took one that did, by Nick Ut, published in The Washington Post in June 2022.

Can a photograph help end a war? Nick Ut writes about taking this photograph and the impact it had in an opinion piece. 

50 years after ‘Napalm Girl,’ myths distort the reality behind a horrific photo of the Vietnam War and exaggerate its impact, published in The Conversation in June 2022. 

Can a single photo end a war? 
Has this photograph become a ‘media myth’? Did it really turn US public opinion against the conflict and hasten the end of the Vietnam War?
What does this photo symbolize?
Would this photograph be published today?

About the photographer

Nick Ut

In 1966, at a very young age, Ut joined The Associated Press (AP) in Vietnam, after his older brother Huynh Thanh My, also an AP photographer, was killed in combat. Ut covered th...

Technical information

Focal length
35 mm

This image is collected in