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Obituary: Philip Jones Griffiths

Famed photojournalist and Magnum stalwart Philip Jones Griffiths has died of cancer. He was 72.

Famed photojournalist and Magnum stalwart Philip Jones Griffiths has died of cancer. He was 72.

Welsh-born Jones Griffiths began his career freelancing for the Manchester Guardian and the Observer, but became famous for his book Vietnam Inc, based on his coverage of the Vietnam war between 1966 and 1971.

The book, which documents the suffering of the Vietnamese people during the conflict, is credited with a resurgence of the US anti-war movement, and the changing of popular opinion.

In a career that took him to more than 120 countries, he covered everything from Buddhism in Cambodia, drought in India, poverty in Texas and the legacy of the Gulf war in Kuwait.

Twenty years later, he published two books – Vietnam at Peace (2005) and Agent Orange: “Collateral Damage” (2003) – based on his post-conflict work in Vietnam.

In 1980, Jones Griffiths began a five year stint as President of Magnum, the agency he first joined in 1966. In one of his last interviews, given to the PhotoHistories website, he accused the agency of losing its roots in photojournalism: “In general [Magnum] has been dumbed down to the point where the trivial, the meaningless, the candy floss, the visual entertainment is well and truly established and the agency is being destroyed from within.”

In a tribute on the Magnum website, current president Stuart Franklin credits Philip Jones Griffiths with having given the agency “its moral soul.”

A small selection of his work can also be seen on his website.

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