Today I am here to talk about Larry Burrows.
Born on May 29th, 1926 in London, United Kingdom as Henry Frank Leslie Burrows, Larry was a war photographer most notable for his acclaimed photographs of the Vietnam war. His photographs combined with many other photojournalists showed the shocking stark reality of Vietnam and Laos, which helped give birth to the anti-Vietnam War movement in the United States.Biography:Burrows’ interest to photograph war later in his life could be linked to him growing up in London during its bombing in World War II. In 1942, at an age of 16, Burrows left school and began working in the city’s press. He first joined the art department of the Daily Express and soon after learning photography, moved to the darkrooms of the Keystone Photo agency. He later joined LIFE Magazine’s London bureau as “an errand boy-cum-apprentice”. Being trained in darkroom procedures and basics of photography, he soon climbed his way to be a photojournalist working for LIFE.
Leading to his renowned work in the Vietnam war, Burrows captured portraits of popular world figures such as Ernest Hemingway, Louis Armstrong, Brigitte Bardot and Winston Churchill among many others. He also photographed periods of disruption and conflict in the world, venturing to Egypt in 1956 to capture the Suez Crisis; to Congo in 1960, to photograph the Belgian Congo War and to the India-China border in 1962, to document the Indo-China War. Burrows also went to various assignments while working with LIFE Magazine, such as the the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and in to Indonesia in 1965 for a wildlife report . Even though he went on different assignments around the world, he kept coming back to photograph the war in Vietnam. Burrows’ tale in Vietnam tragically came to an end on February 10th, 1971 when his helicopter carrying three other photojournalists was shot down in Laos. As bittersweetly summed up by the The Time Magazine, “Burrows lost his heart to Vietnam”.Photographic Style:Larry Burrows for the most part was a ‘War-Photographer’.
War photography is used to document the horrific scenes of conflict, chaos and their aftermaths and/or consequences. It is used to inform the world and portray the conflict’s effects on the land, people and general life.Larry Burrows usually photographed the happenings at the front lines and military camps. He carefully planned his photos.
This included careful consideration of his photographs’ setting and make up based on observations of the battlefield. He would also spend many days on a single composition. Larry liked to capture whatever he saw, unadulterated. His subject matter were the soldiers at the front lines, life at military camps, life of general people impacted by the war and photographing of air missions in helicopters and jets.Methods:Burrows usually worked in outdoor locations with natural lighting. Since most of the time he was in the war-zone with the front line soldiers his creative process was spontaneous however he did carefully plan shots whenever he could. He primarily used a Nikon F35mm SLR during his photographing of the Vietnam War and is regarded as the pioneer in using colour film in war photography.Philosophy:Larry Burrows through his photographs tried to show the world through his own eyes what he felt and saw, the pure truth with no alteration.
He believed that if he could show or try to capture the pain and suffering of what others are going through and convey them to the world there is a reason to do it.Contributions/Accomplishments:Larry Burrows contributed to the art of War Photography heavily. He showed the reality of Vietnam; the mud, blood, death, apathy, the destruction of land and villages and mass killings of innocents. He showed the realities of people whose lives had been torn apart by war.