In my opinion, I think that the photographer (Nick Ut) who shot the picture called Napalm girl in 1972, wanted to show the rawness of the fear of what the Vietnamese war caused on its own people. I believe he did not intend to target the girl in a way that is seen as inappropriate but to just release her fear into the world. He saw a moment of emotion. At that moment she may have been bathing or getting dressed, but fear pushed her to run for her life, from the bombs, no matter what she looked like. If we were to talk in a digital sense that maybe she would not want to show herself naked physically and psychologically to the world and being labelled the “Napalm girl” or “naked girl” on the internet but in reality at the time when the photo was released, it was released on newspapers and on TV so the impact was a shorter lived one. She was in hospital and still a child so the picture could maybe not even have reached her especially if she was living in a war zone. Kim Phuc (Napalm girl) has probably moved on from the trauma and can now see the picture in a different light.
The fact of the matter is, is that she could have died that day but Nick Ut brought her (Kim Phuc) and other children to a hospital to get treated. She is now happy, married with children with a job that he enjoys. She thanked him for saving her life and they still talk and get coffee together. Many soldiers have said that his pictures made them go home and that they would not be alive if it weren’t for him.
I believe that we live in a different age now and we know what is happening in the world but without photographers like Nick, we would never understand the rawness of the emotion of actually being there. So I think today, it may be about the platform that you showcase your photo’s on because it needs to be shown in a way that it can be respected.
Here is a video of the Photographer being interviewed about the photo: