French war photographer Francoise Demulder dies

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The first woman to win the prestigious World Press Photo award died on Tuesday of a heart attack at her home in Paris suburb.

5 September 2008

PERPIGNAN -- French war photographer Francoise Demulder, the first woman to win the prestigious World Press Photo award, died on Tuesday, said her friend US journalist Phyllis Sipahioglu on Thursday. She was 61.

She died of a heart attack at her home in the Paris suburb of Levallois, Sipahioglu, said other friends said at the Perpignan photojournalism festival in southwestern France.

Demulder, known as Fifi to her friends and colleagues, covered many of the major wars of the latter part of the last century, and her pictures featured in magazines such as Time, Stern, Paris Match and Newsweek.

She won the World Press Photo prize in 1976 for a black and white picture of a Palestinian refugee woman pleading with a masked gunman in a war-ravaged district of Beirut.

"Demulder stated at the time that she hated war, but felt compelled to document how it's always the innocent who suffer, while the powerful get richer and richer," the prize's website said.

She worked briefly as a model after studying philosophy in Paris but soon fell in love with Asia. She started to sell her photos of Vietnam to cover her travelling expenses, said Sipahioglu.

Demulder was one of a very small number of Western journalists in Saigon when communist North Vietnamese entered the city on 30 April 1975, marking the end of the Vietnam War.

[AFP / Expatica]

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