War photographer Philip Jones Griffith dies at 72
British photojournalist Philip Jones Griffiths, known for his unflinching coverage of the Vietnam war, died on Tuesday aged 72
PARIS, March 20, 2008 - British photojournalist Philip Jones Griffiths, known for his unflinching coverage of the Vietnam war, died on Tuesday aged 72, the Magnum photo agency said.
Born in Wales in 1936, Griffith Jones launched his career as a freelancer
for Britain's Observer newspaper in 1961, covering the Algerian war in 1962
before travelling across central Africa.
In a career that took him to more than 120 countries, Griffith Jones
covered everything from Buddhism in Cambodia, drought in India, poverty in
Texas or the legacy of the Gulf war in Kuwait.
"The photographer's eye was always drawn by human folly, but... he always
believed in human dignity and in people's ability to better themselves," said
a statement issued in Paris by Magnum, which he chaired from 1989 to 1985.
From 1966 to 1971, Griffith Jones reported on the Vietnam war, publishing a
photojournalism book focused on the suffering of civilians, "Vietnam Inc",
which helped turn US public opinion against the conflict.
For a 2003 book, "Agent Orange", he turned his camera upon the impact of
the defoliant used by the US military on post-war generations in Vietnam.
"Journalism is about obliterating distances, bringing far away things
closer home and impressing it on people's senses," he said in an interview
earlier this year with the Independent newspaper in Britain.
"You excite your humanity every time you take a photo. Lose your humanity
and you stop being able to judge, to know, to see."
Griffith Jones' work was the subject of a US exhibition in 2005 and 2006
titled "50 years on the Frontline". He died at his home in England, Magnum
said, where he had been suffering from cancer.