You will prepare and submit a term paper on Image and Photographer. Your paper should be a minimum of 500 words in length.

You will prepare and submit a term paper on Image and Photographer. Your paper should be a minimum of 500 words in length. Running Head: IMAGE AND PHOTOGRAPHER Essay, Visual Arts and Film Studies: Image and Photographer May 30, Essay, Visual Arts and Film Studies: Image and Photographer

This paper analysis an image of the Vietnam war, shot by war photographer Larry Burrows. The image brings out the horror that was the Vietnam War, and the manner in which soldiers fought in extremely harsh and dangerous conditions, when death was just a bullet away. Several wartime photographers Larry Burrows, Malcolm Browne, Nick Ut, Henri Huet, Horst Faas, Kent Potter, Keisaburo Shimamoto, and others, brought out the harsh realities, the deep misery and tragedies of the war (Cosgrove, 2014).

1. Title, Date & Artist

Title: Reaching Out South of the DMZ on Hill 484, South Vietnam/ Life Magazine

Date: October 1966

Artist: Larry Burrows (1926-1971)

2. Key Words





Cross Racial Kinship

Human Gesture



3. Form

This a color photograph, shot by Larry on a mud-splattered hill in the DMZ in Vietnam. The picture shows an injured Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie reaching out to a stricken friend, who is resting on the ground, with his back against a mud embankment, clutching a wooden stub. The gunnery sergeant is oblivious to his own injury, and even though his head is bandaged, he is rushing forward to his friend. Other soldieries are trying to restrain him or supporting him, as he gazes at his friend, with deep concern, ignoring his own wounds, at the friend who is probably in his dying breath. The background shows other soldiers tending to their wounds, and resting. In the foreground, a couple of soldiers are staring with concern and horror at the fallen soldier. Tents and other equipment of the soldiers are seen in the background, with the trees reduced to ragged and jagged stumps from the heavy artillery fire. In the far background, the forest covered mountains rise and extend to the horizon, showing the enormity that is Vietnam. It is very heartening to see that the Gunnery Sergeant, who is an African American, has developed an intense friendship with his fallen comrade, who is white. One should remember that when this picture of shot in 1966, USA was in the depth of racism, with Blacks fighting for their rights and equality in White America. The picture shows that in war, the color of the skin does not matter, but only friendship and camaraderie (Cosgrove, 2014).

4. Process

It appears that the picture was taken in daylight using a head shot, with the photographer looking down on the scene. The artist has used a wide-angle lens of 50-100 mm, which allows for close up pictures to be taken, while still capturing the background scenery. Natural lighting with sunlight is used, and Flash does not appear to be used since the background shows the muddy ridge in detail with the brown earth. The dog tag on the Gunnery Sergeant does not show any glimmer or reflection from any flash. In addition, war photographers avoided using Flash, in case the light gave away their positions to the enemy. All the faces are sharp, focused, without any blurring, and this indicates that the photographer was probably positioned at a suitable position, which allowed him to capture the activity on the hill.

5. Content

The Vietnam War was a very traumatic event for thousands of soldiers, who fought in the war, against the Viet Cong, who received support from Soviet Russia. The war was widely criticized in the press and in the US public, as thousands of families received terse message informing them that their sons, brothers, and husbands died in a needless war. The Viet Cong knew the terrain very well, they knew how to fight guerilla warfare, and they had equipment from the Russians. The US soldiers, most of them raw recruits from colleges, and from poor families, were pushed into the deadly decimating war. The world came to know of the horrors of the war only through the work of the brave photographers such as Larry. These photographers, joined the war units, ventured into the front areas where the war was fought, and captured many searing images of the war, that helped to drive the public anger and opinion against the war. More than 2000 journalists and photographers perished in the war. It is very tragic that Larry was killed in 1971, when the helicopter he and other photographers were travelling in, was shot down over the jungles (The Guardian, 2015).

6. Conclusion

A detailed analysis of the war picture, shot by Larry Burrows. The five step process was used to analyze the image. Important elements of the image were explained in the analysis.


Cosgrove, B. (2014). Portrait From Hell: Larry Burrows’ ‘Reaching Out,’ 1966. Retrieved 30 May 2015 from

The Guardian. (2015). Vietnam: The Real War – in pictures. Retrieved 30 May 2015 from http://www.theguardian.

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