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“At times the Vietnam War, like all wars, had the drama of the Forces of Darkness murdering the Innocents. The task, of course, was to see beyond the obvious. All wars produce the familiar iconic images of horror, which do little to further anyone’s understanding of a particular conflict. My purpose was to understand the nature of the war, and reveal the truth about it, with photographs providing the visual proof. The photographs are the evidence.” — 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

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 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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