NEW BOOK: Focus on Vietnam
“Burchik’s … new photography book is a sort of lush appendix to his debut work. In that volume, the author told the stories of his tour of war-ravaged Vietnam as a member of the…Army’s 1st Division. In this new book, he expands on that original story with a thick sheaf of photographs, all of them his own, all snapped during his own tour as a forward observer in 1968-69…Among the most absorbing of the book’s 16 sections (they’re about six pages each) is the one devoted to servicemen fording one of the “four or five rivers each day” that many patrols were required to cross…These are good quality snaps— several of professional grade, and well-reproduced…readers already familiar with the war’s history, controversies, and body count will find much to interest and beguile them in this collection.”
The Author and Photographer:
Steven Burchik was a sergeant and a forward observer with the US Army’s 1st Infantry Division in the rice paddies northeast of Saigon. Photography was a hobby, a way to connect with his creative side. He sent the photos to his fiancée for safekeeping. When he returned to the States in 1969, the country was in turmoil, so he stored the photos in shoeboxes and moved on with his life.
For more than forty years he did not talk about his wartime service until a high school English teacher invited him to address her class. That interaction with the students, lead him to write his unique memoir, Compass and a Camera in 2014. The book won a Silver Medal at the Independent Publisher awards ceremony in 2015. A series of speaking engagements followed as well as photography exhibits in art galleries, bookstores and museums.
Many people expressed interest in seeing more of the images from his collection of more than 4,000 photographs. The result is Focus on Vietnam.
The author brought a personal camera along on patrols as a forward observer in the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam. He recorded the images of ordinary soldiers, villagers and children living their daily lives amid an extraordinary conflict.
This volume includes both color and black-and-white images and contains more than 250 photographs taken with a 35mm rangefinder camera which was replaced more than once because of wet river crossings while on patrol. This remarkable collection captures gritty, personal and emotional glimpses of the everyday life of the average American soldier and Vietnamese villagers. Included are images of soldiers struggling through knee deep mud and fast moving rivers while on patrol, contrasted with photos of GI’s taking a break in the base camp as well as a variety of vehicles, weapons and aircraft. The photos capture the amazing beauty of rivers, rice paddies, sunrises, sunsets and aerial shots of verdant fields and jungles, even more poignant given the mission in Vietnam.
The high quality reproduction of the images on premium paper makes Focus on Vietnam a must-have for those with an interest in military history or photography.