This iconic picture taken in the Vietnam by Nick Ut soon became the image of the Vietnam war.
The girl running from a (south Vietnam) napalm attack with her cloths burning off her body was Kim Phuc, who suffered third-degree burns to more than half of her body as a result.
Just after the picture while Kim was still running a British journalist stopped her and poured water over her. Nick Ut the photographer then took her to a hospital.
Later on this unforgettable image became a propaganda tool and Kim was expected to fulfill her duties as a “symbol of war” by the Vietnamese government she says “I wanted to escape the picture because the more famous it got, the more it cost me my private life. It seemed to me that my picture would not let me go,”.
…but later Kim held the idea that the image could work for her as she started a life in good old capitalist Canada.
This idea of capitalizing on her misfortune led her to establish the Kim Phuc Foundation, which provides medical and psychological assistance to child victims of war, all good things.
This story raises the well debated issue of the roll of the photographer or journalist in the moment at the time of a situation…to interfere or stay outside the story? your there because of the story but your not the story or are you? all questions which should at best come down to context and personal judgment. Since the Vietnam war many things have change not just the way in which wars are fought but also the laws. The Vietnam war was a very open war for control on media since then the US more publicly than other countries has put many restrictions on what can be shown in the media.
Interesting BBC article on Kim reuniting with the British journalist who took her to a second hospital to save her life – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8678478.stm