The Fall Of Saigon
A Multimedia Presentation
In April of 1975, I was a contract photographer
for Time Magazine, having first signed a contract with them in the spring
of 1972. When John Durniak, then the picture editor asked me what I wanted
to do, I told him anything, with two exceptions. I didn't want to cover
The White House anymore, nor did I wish to cover any more wars. In the
previous two decades, as a staff photographer for UPI, and a photographer
for Department of the Army, I had covered too many Presidents, and far
too many wars and riots, including a two year stint in Vietnam as UPI's
picture bureau chief from 1965-66.
Two weeks after signing the contract, I
found myself trying to find the bottom of a water-filled hole along Vietnam's
Highway 13, as North Vietnamese Army (NVA) rockets and artillery tried
their best to abort my new career as a magazine photographer. I returned
to New York from the Vietnam spring offensive, to be asked if I would mind
going down to Washington for "a week or so," to cover the Nixon administration.
I'm still here.
In March of 1975, I was given a photographer's
dream assignment. I was to photograph "The New Beauties" - the daughters
of famous people who had just reached the magnificent age of 18.
The U.S. cover was to be of Margaux Hemmingway, who then was the hot model,
and the Europe cover was to be Princess Caroline of Monaco. The story would
take ME throughout the United States and Europe.
By the end of the first week of April,
despite the fact that I was ensconced in a suite at the Hotel De Paris
in Monaco that would make Donald Trump jealous, I was becoming increasingly
restless. Vietnam, the country with which I had held a love-hate relationship
for the past 20 years was on the verge of collapsing. Suddenly, photographing
lithe, rich glamour queens was losing its appeal. I was, after all, a photojournalist.
View Dirck Halstead's
21 minutes, RealVideo
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