My objective always, is to stay as close as possible and shoot the pictures as if through the eyes of the infantryman, the Marine, or the pilot. I wanted to give the reader something of the visual perspective and feeling of the guy under fire, his apprehensions and suffering, his tensions and releases, his behavior in the presence of threatening death.
I never felt in competition with anybody in war photography. You’re lucky to get your ass in and out again. It’s as simple as that. It’s the easiest photography in the world to shoot somebody who’s been shot up. It doesn’t take a genius. That’s easy. The only thing you need to know is your photography. Get in and if you’re lucky get out. And get as close as you can get.
I am no kook, hippie, hawk, or dove. I am just a veteran combat photographer and foreign correspondent who cares intensely about my country and the role we are playing—and assigning to ourselves—in the world of today. And I want to shout a loud protest at what has happened at Khe Sanh and in all of Vietnam.
You’ll never find one of my photographs that violates your privacy, or if you’re knocked off, your mother’s privacy. I never show you any corpses or shot-up bodies. These sons of bitches today, you know, after a typhoon, after an earthquake, anything, they’re right in there. That’s not my privilege. I want you to feel the story of fatigue and tragedy and heartbreak. If they’re dead, you’ll never see their faces.