The Youngest Photo Journalist in South Vietnam, 1968

1960s | October 21, 2016

One of the most unusual sights in a city overflowing with street battles is the slight figure of a 12-year-old Vietnamese boy scrambling across the rubble, deliberately heading for trouble.

While other youngsters flee danger, he looks for it. He is a professional photographer and he has a thick stack of published pictures to prove it.

Young Lo Manh Hung wanders among a group of refugees in Saigon February 18th looking for picture possibilities. At the age of 12, he's probably the youngest photo journalist in South Vietnam. For two years now he's been helping his father, a veteran freelance photographer, cover the dramatic and sometimes violent events of the war-torn city. 18 Feb 1968, Saigon; Vietnam

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Lo Manh Hung wears his cameras like a badge.

With the father, who is 58 years old, the pair form a team boasting Saigon’s oldest and youngest working photographers.

Lo Manh Hung and his father arise everyday at 5am. To be early on the job and usually don’t finish until after 9pm.That’s 365 days a year, the father sighs. In less hectic times, the pair scoot about the city on a motorbike to cover official government affairs, weddings, airport arrivals, parties, fires, whatever may make news.

Lo Manh Hung helps with the film processing and printing, then turns messenger salesman, pedding fresh prints to local newspapers and foreign news agencies.

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS









His small, slim frame and child’s face are both the hindrance and help in his work. Police stop him as he tries to pass through official gates, demanding" “Where do you think you’re going?”

He then explains he's the son of photographer Lo Vinh, produces his credentials and cameras, and usually continues on his way. But not always - and that, he says, is his biggest problem: cinvincing police he really is a working news photographer.

The advantage of his size has been seen often by the Saigon press corps. As photographers jam together, elbowing, pushing, clawing for the right picture angle of an arriving dignitary or a crowded news conference, snakes through a crowd on all fours, emerges in the front of the lot and clicks happily away with the best angle of all. He is so short he never blocks those behind and they let him be.

H/T The Southeast Missourian Feb 14 1968: Boy Photographer Seeks Danger as Others Flee - John Nance

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