Paul Emma graduated from Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) in 1967 with a BFA in Photography. Shortly after marrying, he was drafted into the Army and was sent to Vietnam in 1968. Because of his talents and education, Paul was assigned as a Psychological Operations (PSY-OPS) photographer.
Stationed in Bien Hoa, he grew to know and care for the Vietnamese people and in his time off-duty, he photographed the men, women and children whom he met, often times only with a Poloroid camera, or using film processed under inadequate conditions.
After returning to the United States, Paul raised a family and became a successful commercial photographer, capturing notable figures such as Richard Nixon, and the actors Kathleen Turner, George Kennedy and E.G. Marshall. His talent, sensitivity for lighting and his attention to detail has made him one of the foremost photographers in the Philadelphia area.
Through the recent development of digital scanning and printing, Paul has recently revisited his “portraits” and been able to resurrect and produce the remarkable prints in this collection.
2018 will mark Paul’s 50th anniversary of his service in Vietnam. His portraits remind us of the struggle of that country’s people to maintain their lives and care for their families throughout the adversities caused by war, and of the beautiful people who, not so unlike ourselves, longed for peace and tranquility during those troubled times.