George Rodger is known for his affecting war photography, covering conflict zones as diverse as London during WWII Blitz, the liberation of France and the war front in Eritrea, Abyssinia and the Western Desert. From 1939 to 1947, Rodger was the War correspondent for LIFE Magazine. In Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’ of India, tractors and trucks drive along a construction site, like minuscule insects. Traces on the sand, created by the vehicles’ paths, change the original face of the desert landscape. The highly contrasted black and white tones are reminiscent of a pencil drawing, shaped by the human hand.

You must feel an affinity for what you are photographing. You must be part of it, and yet remain sufficiently detached to see it objectively

George Rodger
© George Rodger | Magnum Photos

Born in Cheshire in 1908, George Rodger served in the British Merchant Navy. His pictures of the London blitz brought him to the attention of Life magazine, and he became a war correspondent. He won eighteen campaign medals covering Free French activities in West Africa, and went on to document the war front in Eritrea, Abyssinia and the Western Desert. He photographed the German surrender at Lüneburg for Time and Life.

Traumatized by the experience of looking for ‘nice compositions’ in front of the dead, Rodger embarked on a 28,000-mile journey all over Africa and the Middle East, focusing on ways of life that exist in a close relationship with nature.

In 1947 Rodger was invited to join Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Seymour and William Vandivert in founding Magnum. George Rodger died in Kent on 24 July 1995.

© George Rodger | Magnum Photos

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