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War Photo Auction Benefits Region's Journalists

War Photo Auction Benefits Region's Journalists

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP)-When Dutch photographer Hubert Van Es shot one of the classic

photographs of the Vietnam War, his boss gave him a pat on the back and a U.S. $100

bonus.

Seventeen years later, a print of his photograph-evacuees trying to reach a helicopter

on a Saigon rooftop in 1975-fetched 31,500 baht (U.S. $1,240) Nov. 4 at an auction

of some of the best photojournalism of Indochina ever assembled.

Organizers said that 96 photographs were auctioned off to enthusiastic expatriates

and Thais who paid a total of 823,500 baht (U.S. $32,400).

Proceeds will go to training programs for journalists from Vietnam, Cambodia, and

Laos and to build a memorial to some 320 journalists from all sides who died while

covering wars in Indochina from 1945 to 1975.

The auction was preceded by an exhibit-"War, Peace and the Printed Image"-of

some 140 photographers spanning four decades of Indochina coverage. They included

works by well-known war photographers like Horst Faas, Tim Page, Sean Flynn, and

Henri Huet as well as a younger crop currently focusing on a more peaceful Indochina.

At the auction, though, peace took second place to war.

After the photo of the panicked helicopter evacuation of Saigon, the most sought-after

photo was an atmospheric depiction of the battle at Hamburger Hill by Van Es, who

was a stringer for the Associated Press and United Press International during the

Vietnam War. It was sold at 25,000 baht (U.S. $985).

Third was a chilling scene by French photographer Roland Neveu, who witnessed the

1975 gunpoint evacuation of Phnom Penh residents by the victorious Khmer Rouge. This

was auctioned off for 23,500 baht (U.S. $925).

A series of stark combat photographs from the early years of the Vietnam war were

also in high demand. These were taken by Horst Faas, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner

now based in London for the Associated Press.

A minute of silence was observed by the 300 people attending the auction and dinner

for those journalists killed or still missing from the wars.

Sean Flynn, son of Hollywood actor Errol Flynn, was captured and presumed executed

by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in 1970 along with American cameraman Dana Stone.

Huet was shot down in a helicopter inside Laos. North Vietnamese photographer Luong

Nghia Dung was killed in 1972 during some of the fiercest fighting of the Vietnam

War-in and around the city of Quang Tri in central Vietnam.

Dung's work and those of two other Vietnamese combat photographers, which were recently

obtained from the Vietnam News Agency in Hanoi, also proved popular at the auction.

"War, Peace and the Printed image" was organized by the Indochina Media

Memorial Foundation, the brainchild of British photographer Page who was wounded

five times in Indochina and lost several close colleagues during the war.

The prints, obtained from original negatives, were donated by photographers and media

organizations with buyers forbidden to use them for commercial purposes.

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