The Digital Journalist
Remembering Eddie
October 2004

by Boris Yaro


I, like most of my colleagues, was truly saddened by the passing of Eddie Adams. Your "heads up" to his deteriorating condition came too late for most of us to send a card or letter to him.

I met Eddie in 1971 when he came out to Los Angeles to cover a major earthquake. We would meet after the day's shooting and find a watering hole and swap stories.

He was a self-effacing man who took life on its own terms and enjoyed what he could.

I told him that I felt his Vietnam photo pushed my photo (of a mortally- wounded Bobby Kennedy) into second place in the contest (although no such place existed then) for the 1968 Pulitzer Prize in news photography.

He just grinned and said, "sorry 'bout that."

I was always impressed by his ability to find the "right" angle and then wait. One of his photos, taken during a war in Israel, was significant because it caught an image that reaches into the hearts of soldiers and civilians alike. The photo shows one Israeli soldier holding and comforting another who does not appear to have a physical wound. Another image, taken in the streets of New York, shows a police officer firing his revolver into the air to try and disperse a crowd, at the precise instant the officer fired.

War, while dangerous as all get out, seems to provide a lot of grist and, hence, a lot of photo "ops." I am not demeaning anyone's photos made in any war. However, Eddie had the talent and I offer this as an example:

The picture that stands out in my mind is one he took during the Olympics, where he managed to capture the action of a gymnast in three shots on the SAME frame! I asked him about that and he said: "I taped a strip of film to the inside of the camera" and made the photo that way.

Eddie was the person we looked to for the "f/8 and be there" pictures when looking through Time magazine.

He also could THINK a shot through and bring back wonderful results.

We, the photojournalism community, and for that matter readers around the world, are going to miss him.

© Boris Yaro