Advertisement
Share

Pulitzer Prize-winner Kennerly celebrates 50th anniversary of Vietnam photos at Garden Grove restaurant

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly.
Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly, center, celebrates 50th anniversary of winning the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his portfolio of photographs of the Vietnam War, Cambodia, East Pakistani refugees near Calcutta, and the Ali-Frazier fight in Madison Square Garden, at a small gathering hosted by Vietnamese American executive producer Naja Lockwood, at Broadard Chateau in Garden Grove on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
(Raul Roa)

Three giants of journalism came together to celebrate a momentous achievement by one of them at a local restaurant in Garden Grove on Sunday.

Pulitzer Award winners Nick Ut, left, Peter Arnett, center, and David Hume Kennerly
Pulitzer Award winners Nick Ut, left, Peter Arnett, center, and David Hume Kennerly celebrating Kennerly’s 50th anniversary of winning the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.
(Raul Roa)

At a small gathering hosted by film producer Naja Lockwood, famed journalists Peter Arnett and Nick Ut joined David Hume Kennerly and a few close friends to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kennerly’s 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. Held at well-known Vietnamese restaurant Brodard Chateau, the group dined on a variety of Vietnamese dishes. Lockwood said that she and film writer, producer and director Tony Bui along with Nick Ut wanted to celebrate Kennerly’s work and contribution “and move beyond the sadness of April 30 (Fall of Saigon, April 30, 1975) this weekend and rather towards hope and joy in celebrating David.”

Vietnamese American film producer Naja Lockwood says a few words about Pulitzer Prize winner David Hume Kennerly, left.
Vietnamese American film producer Naja Lockwood, standing, says a few words about Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly, left.
(Raul Roa)

The three men are now the only living Vietnam War-era Pulitzer Prize winners.

Kennerly, who was also President Gerald Ford’s chief photographer, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his portfolio of 1971 photographs of the Vietnam War, Cambodia, East Pakistani refugees near Calcutta, and the Ali-Frazier fight in Madison Square Garden.

The Pulitzer Prize certificate for David Hume Kennerly  for Feature Photography.
The Pulitzer Prize certificate for David Hume Kennerly as he celebrates the 50th anniversary of winning the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.
(Courtesy of David Hume Kennerly)

Kennerly recalled that on May 1, 1972, he was on duty in Saigon as a photojournalist for United Press International when he was given the news he had won the Pulitzer Prize. Kennerly said at first he “did not believe it” but when confirmation came from the main office, he was ecstatic.

One from the set of David Hume Kennerly's 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.
(David Hume Kennerly)

The next day, Kennerly said, he went out again to cover the war and was almost killed during a fierce firefight between North and South Vietnamese soldiers.

David Hume Kennerly takes cover during a firefight one day after winning the Pulitzer Prize.
(Dirck Halstead)

While chatting about his accomplishment, Kennerly mentioned that he helped about 25 Vietnamese refugees come to America by sponsoring them from refugee camps in America and abroad. “At one point,” he said, “there must have been about 15 people living in my home.”

When asked how he felt about reaching the 50th anniversary, Kennerly said that he is “just happy to be here to see it happen.”

Nick Ut, left, Anh Do, center, and Naja Lockwood, right, take cellphone photos of David Hume Kennerly.
Nick Ut, left, Anh Do, center, and Naja Lockwood, right, take cellphone photos of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly.
(Raul Roa)

“I didn’t think I’d see my 25th birthday in Saigon because I’d gone through a year of combat and so many close calls,” he added.

“When I turned 25 that was a big day, and I was in Saigon. Less than two months later I won the [Pulitzer] Prize,” Kennerly said.

Peter Arnett, left, Tony Bui, second from left, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly,
Peter Arnett, left, Tony Bui, second from left, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly, third from left, and others celebrate the 50th anniversary of winning the 1972 Pulitzer Prize.
(Raul Roa)

“Now, I’m 75 years old and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the highest honor that I’ve ever received in my profession, and I’m still around to enjoy it,” Kennerly continued.

Lockwood added that the celebration is “a reminder of the importance of not only photojournalism and the power of photography in furthering social justice, showing the readers with its powerful depiction of the costs of war.”

“But it also reminds us of the humanity in all of us and helps us to act with a conscience and with compassion. The power of these photos triggers an empathy that’s both profound and unquestioning, whether it’s helping helpless emptyhanded Vietnamese refugees to America or to find compassion for newly arrived immigrants to our land,” Lockwood concluded.

Kennerly said his motivation to continue working is “the importance of news photography. We are the trusted messengers who show the world the truth about what’s really going on.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly.
(Raul Roa)

Kennerly travels throughout the world and continues to work for a variety of clients. Kennerly is also a Canon Explorer of Light, a program sponsored by the Canon camera company.

Independent film director Tony Bui at left, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer David Hume Kennerly.
With Vietnamese-born American independent film director Tony Bui at left, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly.
(Raul Roa)

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.


Advertisement