Urbanist Hanoi

BackArts & Culture » Nguyen Van Thong, Who Captured Thich Quang Duc’s Self-Immolation, Dies at 94

Nguyen Van Thong, Who Captured Thich Quang Duc’s Self-Immolation, Dies at 94

Although American photojournalist Malcolm Browne is famous for his photos capturing the historical moment in 1963, Browne wasn’t the only one at the scene with a camera.

Nguyen Van Thong, a photographer who was also a freelance journalist contributing to several newspapers in Saigon at the time, arrived at the Buddhist temple on modern-day Cao Thang Street in the morning of June 11, 1963, where 300 Buddhist monk started a protest march.

They were walking from the temple to the intersection of Phan Dinh Phung-Le Van Duyet (Nguyen Dinh Chieu-Cach Mang Thang Tam today). At 9:30am, Thich Quang Duc stepped out of a car, and the monk started the self-immolation process. 

"Managed to get through rows of monks, me and a few others, including foreign journalists, took photos," said Thong in an interview.  

Hailing from Thai Binh Province, Thong was one of the pioneer photographers in Vietnam. On September 9, Thong passed away in his home at 94, Tuoi Tre reports

Thong’s photos of Thich Quang Duc setting himself on fire received international photography awards in Finland, the UK and Sri Lanka during the period between 1964 to 1966, though they were not as widely recognized as Malcolm Browne’s.

In Vietnam, the photo was only first exhibited after April 1975. In 1990, Thong received a silver medal at the Ho Chi Minh Art Photography Festival.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

Related Articles:

Street Cred: Thich Quang Duc, the Monk Who Set Himself on Fire

Vietnam Buddhist Association Slams Burning of Joss Papers as Ostentatious 'Superstition'

- Street Cred: Ly Thai To, the Emperor Who Created Hanoi

Related Articles

in Arts & Culture

'Napalm Girl' Kim Phuc Awarded International Peace Prize in Germany

Nearly 50 years after the iconic photo of her running from a bombing raid was taken, Phan Thi Kim Phuc has earned Germany's Dresden award for her support of UNESCO and children wounded in war.

in Arts & Culture

Hanoi’s First Zine Festival Is Coming up This Week

Beginning this Thursday and stretching over three days, the event taps into a niche, yet growing, subculture in the capital.

in Arts & Culture

New Digital Typeface L'Hanoienne Preserves Classic Hanoi Hand-Painted Fonts

Hanoi streets' handprinted signs haven't been replaced with neon like in other Asian metropolises, yet; but when they are, their traditional lettering will not be lost forever.

in Arts & Culture

Photography Exhibition Highlights Southeast Asia's Emerging Young Talents

The exhibition ‘we will have been young’ features no less than 12 emerging Southeast Asian photographers. 

in Arts & Culture

Vans x Van Gogh Museum Collection Will Also Be Available in Vietnam

Some of Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh’s most iconic works have been turned into everyday apparel.

in Arts & Culture

Vietnamese Photographer Nets 2nd Place in Drone Photo Contest

Vietnamese photographer Pham Trung Thanh captured the exact moment the net of an anchovies fisherman's boat hovered atop the surface in Tuy Hoa, like a petal blooming across the dark water.

Partner Content