Being British, and a photographer, I had a privileged overview of the contest. I spent five years immersed in Vietnam trying to make sense of what was going on. All that was needed was a cool head, a sharp eye and a modicum of humanity to qualify as a serious observer. My book Vietnam Inc. examined every aspect of the war and, I hope, helped illuminate the subject.” –Philip Jones Griffiths

The ability to keep things in perspective is very important for a journalist. In a tense situation you need the ability to be there, yet somehow step aside; to keep a cool head and keep working without getting frustrated

Philip Jones Griffiths
© Philip Jones Griffiths | Magnum Photos

Born in Rhuddlan, Wales, Philip Jones Griffiths studied pharmacy in Liverpool and worked in London while photographing part-time for the Manchester Guardian. In 1961, he became a full-time freelancer for the London-based Observer, covering the Algerian War in 1962, in Central Africa, Asia and Vietnam.

Griffiths’ assignments, often self-engineered, have taken him to more than 120 countries. He continued to work for major publications such as Life and Geo on stories such as Buddhism in Cambodia, droughts in India, poverty in Texas, the re-greening of Vietnam, and the legacy of the Gulf War in Kuwait.

Philip Jones Griffiths died at home in West London on 19th March 2008.

© Philip Jones Griffiths | Magnum Photos

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