Thursday, September 23, 2010
Eddie Adams, Journalist Who Showed Violence of Vietnam, Dies at 71
By ANDY GRUNDBERG
Published: September 20, 2004
Eddie Adams, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and combat photographer who produced one of the most riveting images of the Vietnam War, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 71.
The cause was Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, said Judy Twersky, a spokeswoman for the Eddie Adams Workshop.
In a 45-year career, much of it spent in the front ranks of news photographers, he worked for The Associated Press, Time and Parade, covering 13 wars and amassing about 500 photojournalism awards. But it was a 1968 photograph from Vietnam, taken for The A.P., that cemented his reputation in the public eye and among his peers. That black-and-white image captured the exact moment that Brig. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, then serving as the national police chief of South Vietnam, fired a bullet at the head of a Vietcong prisoner standing an arm's length away on a Saigon street.
Although there was little doubt that the captive was indeed a Vietcong infiltrator, his seemingly impromptu execution shocked millions around the world when the photograph was first published and it galvanized a growing antiwar sentiment in the United States. Mr. Adams took the image during the Tet offensive, when the Vietcong began attacks within Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. The picture received the Pulitzer Prize for breaking-news photography in 1969.
Together with Nick Ut's 1972 image of a naked girl fleeing her napalmed village and Ronald L. Haeberle's color pictures documenting the 1968 My Lai massacre (which were first published in Life in 1969), Mr. Adams' photograph reinforced a widespread belief that the South Vietnamese and American military were doing more harm than good in trying to win the war against an indigenous insurgency and the North Vietnamese army that sponsored it. This interpretation long dismayed Mr. Adams, who accepted Brig. Gen. Loan's contention that the man he shot had just murdered a friend of his, a South Vietnamese army colonel, as well as the colonel's wife and six children. "How do you know you wouldn't have pulled the trigger yourself?" Adams would later write in a commentary on the image.
Like other combat photographers of the time, including Larry Burrows, David Douglas Duncan, Henri Huet and David Hume Kennerly, Mr. Adams devoted most of his efforts to sympathetically depicting the pain and suffering of American and allied ground troops, just as W. Eugene Smith had done earlier. As a military veteran, he sought to portray the Vietnam experience from the viewpoint of the grunt, or platoon solider. But none of his war images achieved the renown of the execution scene.
Edward Adams was born on June 12, 1933, in New Kensington, Pa., the son of Edward and Adelaide Adams. While in high school in New Kensington he joined the photography staff of the school newspaper, and after graduation he enlisted in the Marines and served for three years as a combat photographer in Korea. He later worked at The Evening Bulletin in Philadelphia from 1958 to 1962, and then joined The A.P. He worked for Time from 1972 to 1976, but returned to The A.P. as a special correspondent.
It was in that capacity that Mr. Adams embarked on a story about the Vietnamese boat people, refugees who had set out seeking asylum in neighboring countries. Instead, they were turned away from shore and often robbed by pirates. Mr. Adams boarded one of the boats being towed away from Thailand; he found 50 adults and children packed onto a 30-foot craft. The pictures that resulted were widely published and then presented to Congress by the State Department. According to Mr. Adams, his images helped the government decide to admit as many as 200,000 South Vietnamese to the United States.
"I always tell photographers that you never know who is looking at your pictures or how your pictures are going to affect other people's lives," Mr. Adams later observed. "I wasn't out to save the world. I was out to get a story."
For the last 20 years Mr. Adams worked as a special correspondent for Parade, the weekly magazine that appears as a supplement in many Sunday newspapers. He also participated in several projects in the "Day in the Life" book series, including most recently "A Day in the Life of the United States Armed Forces," published in 2003. In addition to photojournalism, Mr. Adams took photographs for clients in the fashion, entertainment and advertising industries.
In 1988 he started the Eddie Adams Workshop as a training ground for aspiring photojournalists. Held annually for four days in the fall in Jeffersonville, N.Y., the workshop has enlisted well-known photojournalists and picture editors as faculty, including figures such as Joe Rosenthal and Gordon Parks. The workshops are expected to continue, Ms. Twersky said.
Survivors include Mr. Adams's wife, Alyssa Ann, and their son, August Everhett, of New York; his mother, Adelaide Adams of West Palm Beach, Fla.; his sisters, Lorraine Cornwell, Darlene Schimmelfanick and Beverly Klemzak, also of West Palm Beach, and Joanna Holka of Mantua, Ohio. He also is survived by his wife from a previous marriage, Ann, and their children, Susan Sinclair and Edward Adams, both of Atlanta, and Amy Adams of Montclair, N.J.
Mr. Kennerly, the photojournalist, said that Mr. Adams's picture of the execution is "one of about five great photographs of the 20th century that really changed history.''
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Philip Jones Griffiths Dies In LondonBy Donald R. Winslow
LONDON (March 19, 2008) – Magnum Photos photojournalist Philip Jones Griffiths, 72, has died at home in London after a battle with cancer, the agency confirmed today.
"Philip enriched all our lives with his courage, his empathy, his passion, his wit and his wisdom; and for many he gave to photojournalism its moral soul," Magnum Photos president Stuart Franklin said today. "He died as he wanted so passionately that we should live - in peace."
The Welsh photographer's seminal work was crucial in challenging America's attitudes about the war in Vietnam. His photographs, compiled later in the books Vietnam Inc. and Vietnam At Peace, were the result of his investigation of the war, the people, and the country.
"The things we were being told [about the war] didn't make any sense," Griffiths told an interviewer in 2002. "So I traveled the length of the country for my own personal selfish reasons, to put together the jigsaw puzzle, and to produce a historical document. I wasn't the person working for the news agencies to make sure there was a picture on the front of The New York Times every morning. I worked differently."
"I had read in a British photo magazine about him; he was described as 'a loquacious Welshman,'" photojournalist David Burnett wrote about his friend Griffiths today on his Web Blog. "And when I arrived in Vietnam in 1970, he was one of the first persons I met. Happily for me, he remained loquacious even after we became friends. He was one of those folks who turn into your mentor without being asked. I suppose he found my Utah sense of humor not all that far removed from his own, and we got along well from the first time we had beef and ginger at that lousy Tu Do street Chinese cafe."
"His was the photographic equivalent of the turning point [in Vietnam] among the press," filmmaker and photojournalist Bruce Young said today from Lexington, VA. "Photographers like David Douglas Duncan and Dickey Chapelle had come into the Vietnam experience from a World War II and Korea context – rough, but supportive of the troops. Griffiths, to the point where he became a fictionalized icon in Philip Caputo's novel of wartime photojournalism, 'DelCorso's Gallery', set out on a different path both in content – looking with unblinking candor at wounded civilians and dead bodies – and style – with a more rough, snapshot-like technique in contrast to the lyrical views of, say, Duncan."
"It's ironic that he died on the anniversary of the war [in Iraq] that he so deplored," Sue Brisk at Magnum Photos said.
"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," Franklin said a statement issued in Paris today.
In an interview with BBC news in 2005, Griffiths said: "The only thing we photographers really want more than life, more than sex, more than anything, is to be invisible."
"Journalism is about obliterating distances, bringing far away things closer home and impressing it on people's senses," Griffiths said in an interview in the British newspaper The Independent.
"Philip saw beyond the military dimension of war," John G. Morris wrote tonight from Paris. "He sought to cover it in terms of cause (his book 'Vietnam Inc.') and effect (his book 'Agent Orange'). A man of courage and conviction, he exemplified photojournalism at its best." Morris was the first editorial director of Magnum Photos, hired in the early days by his friends Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
"Philip Jones Griffiths was one of the giants of our business. His photographs of Vietnam in particular will have an everlasting impact on all who see them," David Hume Kennerly said today.
"I salute a fallen comrade whose life was about photography and picturing the truth." As a young photographer working for United Press International, Kennerly won a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his photographs of the Vietnam war.
Griffiths' career also included documenting conflicts in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and Iraq. He spent ten years in science after studying chemistry at Liverpool University before his photography career. While working as a chemist Griffiths kept up his hobby of photography, which was his true interest, but magazine and newspaper photo jobs were hard to find at the time. Later he said that the ten years in chemistry were "wasted." He would have rather been working as a photographer and his heart was not in it. "Once you've had to count 1,000 tablets by hand you know it's time to leave," he told the BBC.
In 1961, Griffiths entered photojournalism as a freelancer and covered the Algerian war in 1962 for the Observer newspaper in London. In 1973 he covered the Yom Kippur War and then worked in Cambodia from 1973 through 1975. In 1977 he covered Asia from his base in Thailand. In 1980 he moved to New York and for five years there he was Magnum Photos' president, from 1989 through 1985.
The photographer was born in 1936 in Rhuddlan, Wales. Griffiths left Wales when he was 16 and lived in the States for many years. As a child he took photographs with a Kodak Brownie camera, and he's often said that his upbringing as a Welshman from Rhuddlan has been "the basis for everything" that he's done.
His last exhibit, "Fifty Years on the Frontline," was in 2006 at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, FL.
Magnum's Frankin says Griffiths is survived by his loving family: Fenella Ferrato, Katherine Holden, Donna Ferrato, and Heather Holden. There has been no announcement of services.
On the Magnum Photos Web site is a blog about Griffiths written by Franklin. At the bottom is a space where readers can leave comments.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Interview with Emmanuel Smague
Tell me about yourself. Where you are from, background, etc…
I am 40 years old, I live in Lannion, in Brittany (France). I am a music teacher and every school holiday, I am free to indulge my passion for photography.
My photo work falls into three periods:
- From 1987 to 1992: I traveled to Turkey and took colour and black and white shots (Nikon FA and F3 bodies, 35/55/105 and 180mm lenses)
- From 1992 to 2005: I continued to travel, but without a camera. For me, traveling is only a pretext to discover and meet people, it is no longer my priority as it was during this earlier period.
- Since 2005: I purchased a Leica M7 equipped with a 35mm lens. It’s during the summer of 2005, onboard the Trans Siberian, that I returned to photography and started to work exclusively in black and white. A trip that for me was very important, as it was the first time I was traveling with the idea of working on a photographic subject – the Trans Siberian. Since then, the selection of my travel destinations is directly linked to a subject. However, for me, photography remains a pretext and not a goal, a pretext as I said to discover and meet people.
What thing or things have inspired or influenced you the most in your photography?
Painting. I do think I look at things as a painter, more than a photographer
Do you have any formal photography or art training?
Only the user’s manual for my camera
Children and schools play a role in a number of your photos. Is due to your being a teacher?
There is no connection with the fact that I am a teacher. What I like most with children is their spontaneity. This is what I also find in older people, especially if they have become “big kids” again
What has caused you to mainly choose to do you work in Iraqi Kurdistan, Georgia, Central Asia and Mongolia? What’s the story behind these locations?
As I said earlier, I choose destinations thinking of photographic subjects. My presence in Iraqi Kurdistan stems from a cultural exchange between Kurdish and Breton musicians. This exchange allowed me to meet an interpreter who opened doors for me and helped me visit refugee camps. Flickr has also allowed me to be warmly welcomed in a Georgian village and to discover their daily life. Since my trip on the Trans Siberian, I have had a desire to discover former Soviet republics and the countries influenced by this gigantic empire.
Have your projects in these locations been funded by any organizations or are these done mainly on your own?
I work independently from any organization. However, in the future, I would see working for an NGO or a photo agency as an accomplishment. Current distribution of my work is limited to exhibitions and sales through my website http://www.smague.fr/ . In September-October 2009, my work on Iraqi Kurdistan will be published by Éditions de Juillet.
What projects are you currently working on?
In April 2009, for two weeks, I will move into a village that was not evacuated 45 kms away from the Chernobyl nuclear plant, to produce a body of work that will parallel work done in villages that were evacuated following the tragedy.
I am not one of these people who shoot a lot. For me, pre-visualisation before shooting is very important…. Learning how to look at light, how to compose your image… after that, it is just a matter of giving commands to your camera. But you must also keep in mind that anticipation and chance can be on your side.
How would you describe the photos you tend to personally appreciate?
If I had to keep only one photo in this album, it would probably have to be this picture taken in a refugee camp in Northern Iraq, as I find it quite representative of my work:
With photography, you can convey an emotion; a photo can tell a whole story just by itself. Whoever looks at it can then tell his or her own story. Photography is also a delightful cocktail of patience and speed:
And if the person I am photographing can become my accomplice, then it is for me a moment of pure bliss:
I noticed you use a Leica M7 with Summicron 1:2/35mm ASPH. Is this your main camera? If so how did you settle on this setup?
Yes, this is all I use. I am always trying to be close to my subject and this is the reason why I work with a 35 mm lens. I chose the Leica m7 because it is robust, simple and unobtrusive.
Do you mainly shoot areas close to where you live or do you frequently explore other areas?
Since 2005, I take pictures only when traveling. But starting in May 2009, I will work for most of a year near home, in an extended stay hospital and I will work in parallel on older people still living independently in rural areas.
My photographic work is currently focused on black and white. I find it conveys emotions better, as colour, in my humble opinion, is more oriented towards aestheticism.
And for the last question, what photographers have influenced you most and why?
To mention only the main ones : Bresson, Koudelka and Salgado. Their outstanding humanist work have always inspired me.
Thanks to Emmanuel Smague for sharing this with us. You can find more of his work at both
Again, I’d urge you to see Emmanuel’s work. Inspiration, Meaningful, Impactful…. Amazing.
All Photo’s Copyright Emmanuel Smague.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Brent Stirton, 39, is the senior staff photographer for the assignment division of Getty Images,
. Getty Images is the largest photographic agency in the world. He specializes in documentary work and is known for his alternative approaches. He travels an average of nine months of the year on assignment. New York
Brent's work is published by: National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, The New York Times Magazine, The London Sunday Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, The Discovery Channel, Newsweek, Le Express, Le Monde 2, Figaro, Paris Match, GQ, Geo, Stern, CNN, and many other respected international titles and news organizations.
Brent also photographs for the Global Business Coalition against Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He has been a long time photographer for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), shooting campaigns on sustainability and the environment. He works for the Ford and Clinton Foundations, the Nike foundation and the World Economic Forum. He was appointed one of 200 Young Global leaders in 2009 by the World Economic Forum.
Brent has received awards from the Overseas Press Club, the Frontline Club, the Deadline Club, Days Japan, multiple P.O.Y USA awards, 3 times China International Photo Awards, the Lead Awards Germany, Graphis USA, American Photography, American Photo and the American Society of Publication Designers as well as the London Association of Photographers. Brent has received 5 awards from the Lucie Foundation and 5 awards from the World Press Photo Foundation and has also received awards from the United Nations for his work on the environment and in the field of HIV. Recently Brent won the 2008 Visa D’or at the Visa Pour L’ image Festival in
for Magazine photography. Brent was also awarded The Lucy Award for International photographer of the Year for 2008. France
In 2009 he received a gold award from China International photographic awards, as well as awards from the National Press Photographers Association, Graphis and American Photography.
Brent received the 2009 ASME magazine publishers award for photojournalism for his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo published in National Geographic magazine.