Tim Page, fearless photographer of Vietnam War, dies at 78



Tim Page, one of the preeminent photographers of the Vietnam War, known as much for his larger-than-life personality as for his intense and powerful combat photographs, died on Wednesday in New South Wales, Australia. Page, 78, died of liver cancer.
A freelancer and a free spirit whose Vietnam pictures appeared in publications around the world during the 1960s, he was seriously wounded four times, most severely when a piece of shrapnel took a chunk out of his brain and sent him into months of recovery and rehabilitation. Page was one of the most vivid personalities among a corps of Vietnam photographers whose images helped shape the course of the war — and was a model for the crazed, stoned photographer played by Dennis Hopper in “Apocalypse Now”. In “The Vietnam War: An Eyewitness History”, Sanford Wexler writes, “Page was known as a photographer who would go anywhere, fly in anything, snap the shutter under any conditions, and when hit go at it again in bandages.”
In his later years, Page was as thoughtful as he had been flamboyant and as articulate about the personal costs of war as he had been about its thrills.
“I don’t think anybody who goes through anything like war ever comes out intact,” he told NYT in 2010. He published a dozen books, including two memoirs, and most notably “Requiem”, a collection of pictures by photographers on all sides who had been killed in the various Indochina wars. Page was born in Britain on May 25, 1944, the son of a British sailor who was killed in WWII.
He was adopted and never knew his birth mother. At 17, he left England in search of adventure, leaving behind a note that read: “Dear Parents, am leaving home for Eu rope or perhaps Navy and hence the world. Do not know how long I shall go for.” He went well beyond Europe, into the West Asia, India and Nepal, ending his journey in Laos as the Indochina war was just beginning. He found work as a stringer for United Press International and won a job with photographs of an attempted coup in Laos in 1965. He spent most of the next five years covering the Vietnam War, working largely on assignment for Time and Life magazines, UPI and AP.He also covered turmoil in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.


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Date: August 24, 2022