Philip Jones Griffiths: In image and text – Magnum Photos

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Philip Jones Griffiths: In image and text

“Not since Goya has anyone portrayed war like Philip Jones Griffiths,” said Magnum co-founder Henri Cartier-Bresson of the photographer and Magnum president. Philip Jones Griffiths’ work, however, captures a far wider portrait of the human condition than its penchant for conflict. While he photographed extreme violence in Vietnam and Algeria, Griffiths also documented ordinary life in Great Britain, the reality of living through The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and global communities with radically different ways of life to the one that he grew up with in his native Wales. The detailed texts and captions that accompany his images reveal astute observations about the mechanics of war, the Western psyche and collisions of ideology.

A deeply felt sense of justice and an affinity with those whose lives were torn apart brought Griffiths back to Vietnam to trace the devastating effects of the defoliant known as ‘Agent Orange.’ Indeed, his experiences of war afforded him a unique perspective on The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The photographer’s writings reflect Griffiths’ knack for dark humor, perhaps exacerbated by the tragic events he witnessed.

Ten years after Philip Jones Griffiths’ death, a small selection of fine prints, spanning the photographer’s career, is available for the first time on the Magnum Shop.