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Recollections

Photographs of Philip Jones Griffiths

17 October 2008 to 13 April 2009

This exhibition has now closed

young woman with a beehive in a doorway with 5 children

Philip Jones Griffiths/Magnum Photos.
Courtesy of the Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation

"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

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.

Griffiths is best known for his wartime photography, particularly his 1971 book 'Vietnam Inc', which is widely held to have been influential in helping to turn public opinion against the war. However he developed his skills through his social and documentary photography of Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. All aspects of his work were present in 'Recollections', the first retrospective of Griffiths' British photographs since his death in March 2008.

Gallery of images

All images: Philip Jones Griffiths/Magnum Photos.
Courtesy of the Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation

Ban the Bomb enactment

Photograph of a soldier smoking at the top of steps strewn with what appear to be dead bodies, with the River Thames in the background

"A group of people adopted positions of death along the Thames Embankment early one Sunday morning. A bemused soldier paused to observe the event."

John Lennon at the Empire Theatre

Photograph of John Lennon, smiling and looking relaxed, holding a letter and a cigarette

"I photographed the Beatles during their first concert at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool. I spent most of the time in their dressing room getting to know them.

The highlight was the reading of letters from female fans that shocked the group. 'How do they even know about this stuff!' was one remark."

Coal-face worker, retired miner, Merthyr Tydfil, 1993

Close up portrait photograph of a man with bright eyes contrasting with his dirty coal dust covered face wearing a hard helmet with a lamp on the front

"These kings of the working class sensed that their world would soon change. Miners always elicited extreme reactions from the ruling class, who saw them as the enemy to be destroyed. Today they are virtually all gone - for reasons unconnected with economics."

Publication

'Recollections', a 240 page hardback book of Philip Jones Griffiths' photographs from Trolley Books, priced £39.95, was launched at the same time as the exhibition.

This exhibition was organisied in conjunction with The Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation, Magnum Photographs and Trolley Books.

Trolley Books logo