Friday, April 10, 2009

To the whole team, many thanks for a job well done.

George Carrano, the sine qua non of the exhibit, special thanks for making it possible for Philip Jones Griffiths' internationally legendary work to be shown here.

Lou Commisso, Director of the Briarcliffe College Patchogue campus had the vision to partner with the Patchogue Arts Council and Magnum Photos to bring the exhibit into the fabulous space. We are all grateful for his generosity.

Hangers and takedown artists and opening reception help: George Carrano, John Cino, Holly Gordon, Kelleen and Karl Guyer, Dawn Lee, Michael Thorn, Jessica McAvoy, Paula Murphy (and sub-team Brendan, Pete, and Alice), Joel Peck, you were amazing.

Thomas Hoepker, former president of Magnum Photos, spoke movingly at the opening reception about his friendship and working relationship with Philip as well as about the significance of Philip's work.

Dick Hughes, a social worker who was taken by the plight of the Vietnamese street boys and established a foundation to help them, met Philip in Saigon during the war years. He also spoke about Philip at the opening reception.

Special thanks to Mayor Paul Pontieri of Patchogue Village who was on hand to greet visitors at the opening reception.

Special thanks for their support also goes to Jennifer Tripp and Danielle Jackson of Magnum Photos and to Gigi Giannuzzi and Hannah Watson of Trolley Books, publisher of Philip's recent and last book, "Recollections".

Briarcliffe College security guard Dave Howland was always cheerful and so helpful.

Our gallery sitters were trusty and reliable: Thanks to Brett Schwan of Briarcliffe for signing up Kristen Nordstrom, Eric Verschoore, Angela Panullo, Jennifer Lafferty, Michael Halliwel (who also created a mean flyer), Sam Lugo,
and Herb Wahlsteen.

PAC people were Carole Amodeo, Leslie McHugh, Maura Breheny, Anne Marie Monte, Margaret Atkinson, Paula Murphy, Anne Jacobsen, Robert Mielenhausen, John & Eileen Demarle, Jo Miller, Kelleen Guyer, Arlene Guzman Capobianco, Marjorie Roe, Debra Rodman, and Carol Reitz-Butler.

If I left anyone out, it was unintentional; please let me know so I can correct my error.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Taking the Exhibit Down

It was a good run, but all good things must and do come to an end. We will be packing up the Philip Jones Griffiths exhibit at Briarcliffe College on Sunday, April 5, from 11 AM to 3 PM. All hands will be appreciated.

Special Guests at the Exhibit

On Saturday, March 28, there was a contingent of Vietnamese visitors from the UN. They were from the Permanent Mission of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United Nations:

Bui The Giang, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative, and his wife;
Le Viet Thanh, member, Vietnamese Mission to the UN; and
Bui Ngoc Hai, Chief, Vietnam News Agency at the UN.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Older soldiers often missed their families and so befriended children and dogs. The canines proved more congenial--more dogs than wives were taken back to America. (1967)

To learn more about the exhibit and see more images, visit


Press Release

PHILIP JONES GRIFFITHS: Photographs from five decades on the frontlines of history

“Not since Goya has anyone portrayed war like Philip Jones Griffiths“
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Patchogue Arts Council, Briarcliffe College, and Magnum Photos are pleased to sponsor an exhibition of legendary Magnum photographer Philip Jones Griffiths’ finest work from five decades on the frontlines of history.
When this exhibit first opened, the New York Times commented, “For half a century, this documentary photographer has been placing himself squarely in harm’s way to record military violence. His pictures of the American war in Vietnam, which make up a substantial part of this show, amount to one of the great tragic portraits of their time and are required viewing in ours.”
Tackling love, death, frivolity, politics and violence, Griffiths’ photographs comment ironically and profoundly on virtually every aspect of human life. On the first anniversary of his death, this exhibit traces his 50-year journey from his native Wales to his most recent work in post-war Viet Nam. Holly Gordon, one of the exhibit curators, said, “His photographs are icons, giving that era a face it will live with forever.” PAC vice-president and co-curator Karen Ferb said,” His Vietnam photography transcends the differences over the war here at home, and his images draw conflicting emotions; the horror of war is tempered with humility, terror with beauty, and despair with hope. It is fitting that many of Griffiths’ photographs played a significant role in changing public attitudes about the war. Many of the pictures included in this exhibit are among the most unforgettable images of war ever made.” Members of the curatorial team also include Holly Gordon and John Cino (PAC). Lou Commisso and Lisa Cangemi (Briarcliffe College) have given valuable assistance.

Other photographs in the exhibit capture the essence of the British presence in Northern Ireland and colonialism in Rhodesia. He became a member, then president, of the prestigious Magnum Photo agency for a record five years. He also worked for Life magazine and others.
Running concurrently is a small exhibition from Street Vision, the Ho Chi Minh City based project of the international charity PhotoVoice. The Street Vision photographs by Vietnamese street kids documenting their lives, fears, and hopes were selected by Griffiths expressly for this exhibit. PAC president Chip Hunter said, “Those who are often seen only through the eyes of a photojournalist are given cameras to ‘see’ for themselves.”
The exhibit is free to the public.

Contact: Karen Ferb (631.758.2671), Holly Gordon (631.835.0697) Gallery hours: Saturday and Sunday, 11 AM-3 PM; Monday closed; Tuesday and Thursday, 2 PM-8 PM; Wednesday and Friday, 2 PM-4 PM

Monday, January 19, 2009

About Philip Jones Griffiths

Welcome to the Philip Jones Griffiths Blog page. Here is information about him and the upcoming exhibit. To view the actual exhibit, "50 Years on the Frontlines", see

So far, Sharon Henson, Jess McAvoy, and Michael Thorn have volunteered for the committee. Thanks!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

February 18, 1936(1936-02-18)Rhuddlan, Wales
March 19, 2008 (aged 72)London, England
WebsiteMagnum Photos
Philip Jones Griffiths (18 February 1936 - 19 March 2008) was a Welsh photojournalist known for his coverage of the Vietnam war.

The first picture of his I ever saw was during a lecture at the Rhyl camera club. I was 16 and the speaker was Emrys Jones. He projected the picture upside down. Deliberately, to disregard the subject matter to reveal the composition. It's a lesson I've never forgotten.

Jones Griffiths was born in Rhuddlan, to Joseph Griffiths, who supervised the local trucking service of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and Catherine Jones, Rhuddlan's district nurse, who ran a small maternity clinic at home.[3] He studied pharmacy in Liverpool and worked in London as the night manager at the Piccadilly branch of Boots The Chemist, while also working as a part-time photographer for the Manchester Guardian.[4]
His first photograph was of his friend, taken with the family Brownie in a rowboat off Holyhead.[2]
Jones Griffiths never married, saying it was a "bourgeois" notion, but that he had had "significant" relationships.[5][2] Survived by Fenella Ferrato, Katherine Holden, Donna Ferrato, and Heather Holden, he died from cancer on March 19, 2008.[6][7][8][1]
Journalist John Pilger wrote in tribute to Philip soon after his death: "I never met a foreigner who cared as wisely for the Vietnamese, or about ordinary people everywhere under the heel of great power, as Philip Jones Griffiths. He was the greatest photographer and one of the finest journalists of my lifetime, and a humanitarian to match…. His photographs of ordinary people, from his beloved Wales to Vietnam and the shadows of Cambodia, make you realise who the true heroes are. He was one of them."[9]

He started work as a full-time freelance photographer in 1961 for the Observer, travelling to Algeria in 1962. He arrived in Vietnam in 1966, working for the Magnum agency.[8]
Magnum found his images difficult to sell to American magazines, as they concentrated on the suffering of the Vietnamese people and reflected his view of the war as an episode in the continuing decolonisation of former European possessions. However, he was eventually able to get a scoop that the American outlets liked: photographs of Jackie Kennedy vacationing with a male friend in Cambodia. The proceeds from these photos enabled him to continue his coverage of Vietnam and to publish Vietnam Inc. in 1971. The book had a major influence on American perceptions of the war, and became a classic of photojournalism.[10][11] The South Vietnamese president, Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, was less impressed, remarking "Let me tell you there are many people I don’t want back in my country, but I can assure you Mr. Griffiths name is at the top of the list."[4]
In 1973, he covered the Yom Kippur War. He then worked in Cambodia from 1973 to 1975. In 1980, he became the president of Magnum, a position he then held for five years. In 2001 Vietnam Inc. was reprinted with a foreword by Noam Chomsky. Subsequent books have included Dark Odyssey, a collection of his best pictures, and Agent Orange, dealing with the impact of the US defoliant Agent Orange on postwar generations in Vietnam.

Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation for the Study of War
After becoming aware of his terminal condition, Jones Griffiths launched a foundation to preserve his archives. His daughters helm the foundation, which is currently without a permanent home.[12]
Philip Jones Griffiths (2006) [1971]. Vietnam, Inc.. Phaidon Press. ISBN 978-0714846033.
Philip Jones Griffiths (1996). Dark Odyssey. Aperture. ISBN 978-0893816452.
Philip Jones Griffiths (2004). Agent Orange: Collateral Damage in Vietnam. Trolley. ISBN 978-1904563051.
Philip Jones Griffiths (2005). Vietnam At Peace. Trolley. ISBN 978-1904563389.
Philip Jones Griffiths (2008). Recollections. Trolley. ISBN 978-1-904563-70-9.

^ a b Franklin, Stuart (2008-03-19). "Philip Jones Griffiths 1936-2008". Magnum Photos.
^ a b c Brockway, Anthony (2004-06-01). "Philip Jones Griffiths, an interview". Retrieved on 2008-07-15.
^ Jones Griffiths, Philip (1996). Dark Odyssey. Aperture. ISBN 978-0893816452. The introduction by Murray Sayle continues "In the Welsh manner, Philip uses the name of both his parents, to distinguish himself from all the other Joneses and Griffithses of the neighbourhood."
^ a b Harrison, Graham (2008-05-03). "Philip Jones Griffiths". Photo Histories. Retrieved on 2008-07-15.
^ Hopkinson, Amanda (2008-03-24). "Obituary: Philip Jones Griffiths", Guardian. Retrieved on 14 July 2008.
^ Winslow, Donald R. (2008-03-19). "Philip Jones Griffiths Dies In London", NPPA. Retrieved on 14 July 2008.
^ Kennedy, Randy (2008-03-20). "Philip Jones Griffiths, Photographer, Dies at 72". New York Times. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
^ a b Agence France-Presse (2008-03-19). "War photographer Philip Jones Griffith dies at 72", Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved on 15 July 2008.
^ Pilger, John. A tribute to Philip Jones Griffiths, who understood war & peace, & people. March 26, 2008. Accessed July 2008.
^ "Vietnam Inc., Part I: A Photo-Journey Through the Villages, Fields, and Alleys of a Devastated Nation", Democracy Now!, 23 January 2002.
^ "Vietnam Inc., Part II: A Photo-Journey through the Villages, Fields, and Alleys of a Devastated Nation", Democracy Now!, 24 January 2002.
^ "Welsh home for PJG's archive?". British Journal of Photography (2008-04-23). Retrieved on 2008-07-14.
External links
Messer, William (Spring 2008). "Presence Of Mind: The Photographs of Philip Jones Griffiths". Aperture (magazine) 190. Retrieved on 3 May 2008.
Dannin, Bob (January 2002). "Interview with Philip Jones Griffiths". New York City.
Jones Griffiths, Philip (2007). "Point and Shoot". Magnum. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
Jones Griffiths, Philip (2007). "Blood, Nails and Prayers". Magnum. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
"50 Years on the Frontlines". Magnum. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
Photograph of him in action, John Giannini, Magnum