Timing is everything, particularly in the case of amazing photography. Sometimes that means waiting through a whole sports game and getting lucky to catch just the right shot. Other times than means trudging through nature for weeks to get the perfect environmental photograph. Here are 25 examples of perfectly timed images from around the world and in various genres.
"Eddie Adams said, 'I just followed the three of them as they walked towards us, making an occasional picture. When they were close - maybe five feet away - the soldiers stopped and backed away. I saw a man walk into my camera viewfinder from the left. He took a pistol out of his holster and raised it. I had no idea he would shoot. It was common to hold a pistol to the head of prisoners during questioning. So I prepared to make that picture - the threat, the interrogation. But it didn't happen. The man just pulled a pistol out of his holster, raised it to the VC's head and shot him in the temple. I made a picture at the same time.'
Eddie would cover other wars and revolutions - and there were many other pictures from Vietnam - but the sensational Pulitzer Prize- winning photo of a Vietcong summarily executed on a Saigon street is what comes to mind when discussing his work. It became - often to his annoyance - his signature picture.
The story of the photo has been told and retold and is available elsewhere. Not always included, however, is how the picture has haunted Eddie for decades afterward.
"Two men died that day," Eddie says, "the Vietcong and Col. Loan who shot him. Pictures do not always tell the full story," Adams says, "and this is one case where that is true."
Not many know that Loan was highly respected by his men and by the Vietnamese, Adams says. He was an educated man dedicated to the survival of his nation. Earlier on the day he shot the VC his aide, his aide's wife and his aide's children were executed by the Vietcong in the fury of the Tet offensive.
Adams came to know Loan in the weeks after the picture was made, but Loan held no grudge. He commented only that his wife said he should have confiscated Eddie's film. Loan was promoted later but in the end had to flee Vietnam and take up residence in the U.S.
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