Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Larry Burrows' 'Reaching Out,' 1966 - Pictures of the Brutality of the Vietnam War

Larry Burrows (1926 – 1971) was an English photojournalist best known for his pictures of the American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Larry Burrows in Vietnam, 1965
In October 1966, on a mud-splattered hill just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Vietnam, LIFE magazine’s Larry Burrows made a photograph that, for generations, has served as the most indelible, searing illustration of the horrors inherent in that long, divisive war — and, by implication, in all wars.

While the image itself is extraordinary, so is its story. As Cosgrove writes in his post LIFE Behind the Picture: Larry Burrows' "Reaching Out," 1966, the magazine didn't publish the image in 1966 but five years later in February 1971: the occasion, an article devoted to Larry Burrows, who was killed earlier that month in Laos at the age of 44. The helicopter crash that killed him also took photographers Henri Huet of the Associated Press, Kent Potter of United Press International and Keisaburo Shimamoto of Newsweek.

In the tribute to Burrows, LIFE's Far East Bureau Chief John Saar, who often worked with Larry wrote: "The depth of his commitment and concentration was frightening. He could have been a surgeon or soldier or almost anything else, but he chose photography and was so dedicated that he saw the whole world in 35-mm exposures. Work was his life, eventually his death, and Burrows I think wouldn't have bitched."

Marines recovering dead comrade while under fire during N. Vietnamese/US mil. conflict over DMZ, w. photog. Catherine LeRoy w. cameras in rear: S. Vietnam.

Members of 1st Marine Division carrying their wounded during firefight nr. southern edge of DMZ during Vietnam War. South Vietnam.

2nd Battalion, 5th Marines making sweep below DMZ, as part of Operation Prairie.

US Marines eating rations during a lull in the fighting near the DMZ during the Vietnam War.

Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie (C) being led past stricken comrade after fierce firefight for control of Hill 484 during the Vietnam war.

American soldiers tending wounded comrade while awaiting evacuation just south of the DMZ during the Vietnam War.

Wounded American Marines being treated and prepared for evacuation during the Vietnam War.

American soldier w. a bandaged head wound looking dazed after participating in Operation Prairie just south of the DMZ.

American Marines aid a wounded comrade during intense battle for Hill 484 as part of Operation Prairie being conducted near the DMZ during the Vietnam War.

US Marine Phillip Wilson carrying rocket launcher across stream during fighting near the DMZ during the Vietnam War.

Shell shocked wounded Marine being bandaged in muddy jungle during OP Prairie US mil. sweep just s. of DMZ, S. Vietnam.

Dirty, exhausted looking US Marine on patrol with his squad near the DMZ during the Vietnam War.

Wounded Marine being helped to an air evacuation point.

(LIFE Behind the Picture: Larry Burrows' "Reaching Out," 1966. Photos: Larry Burrows—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

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