HORST Faas, a prize-winning combat photographer who carved out new standards for covering war with a camera and became one of the world’s legendary photojournalists, has died at 79.
A native of Germany who joined the US-based news co-operative The Associated Press there in 1956, Faas photographed wars, revolutions, the Olympic Games and events in between.
But he was best known for covering Vietnam, where he was severely wounded in 1967 and won four major photo awards including the first of his two Pulitzer Prizes.
As chief of AP’s photo operations in Saigon for a decade beginning in 1962, Faas covered the fighting while recruiting and training new talent from among foreign and Vietnamese freelancers.
The result was “Horst’s army” of young photographers, who fanned out with Faas-supplied cameras and film and stern orders to “come back with good pictures”.
Faas and his editors chose the best and put together a steady flow of telling photos – South Vietnam’s soldiers fighting and its civilians struggling to survive amid the maelstrom.
Among his top proteges was Huynh Thanh My, an actor turned photographer who in 1965 became one of four AP staffers and one of two South Vietnamese among more than 70 journalists killed in the 15-year war.
My’s younger brother, Huynh Cong “Nick” Ut, followed his brother at AP and under Faas’s tutelage won one of the news agency’s six Vietnam War Pulitzer Prizes, for his iconic 1972 picture of a badly burned Vietnamese girl fleeing an aerial napalm attack.