Philip Jones Griffiths, Street sign, Liverpool, 1966
I’ve been to see Recollections, the excellent exhibition of photographs by Philip Jones Griffiths, currently on at the Conservation Centre. One of the great Magnum photographers, Griffiths had a connection with Liverpool, arriving in the city from his birthplace in North Wales to study pharmacy in the early 1950s.
Philip Jones Griffiths, Woman with local children, Liverpool, 1966
After working for the Observer in the early 1960s, he covered the war in Vietnam for Magnum, eventually going on to publish Vietnam Inc. in 1971, a book that had a major impact on American perceptions of the war, and became a classic of photojournalism. However, he developed his skills through social and documentary photography in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, including photos taken in Liverpool which are included in this first retrospective of Griffiths’ British photographs since his death in March 2008.
Philip Jones Griffiths was one of the greatest and most influential photographers of the late twentieth century. Anyone who had the privilege to know him encountered a lively and enquiring mind with a strong – indeed driving – sense of justice. This was coupled with a quick and wicked sense of humour, which is evident in many of his photographs in this exhibition, with their irreverence towards authority, both political and cultural.
– Julian Stallabrass
Philip Jones Griffiths
From the exhibition notes:
Born in Rhuddlan, Wales, in 1936 Philip Jones Griffiths studied pharmacy in Liverpool before taking up a career as a freelance photojournalist. During his incredible career his assignments, often self-engineered, took him to over 120 countries and his photographs appeared in every major magazine in the world. An associate member of Magnum from 1966, he became a member in 1971, then in 1980 moved to New York to assume the presidency of the organisation, a post he held for a record five years.
- Recollections: exhibition website, with more images
- Philip Jones Griffiths: Wikipedia
- Point and Shoot: Magnum essay
- Blood, Nails and Prayers: Magnum essay
- Interview: Photohistories
- Interview: Aperture