New exhibition celebrates life of Welsh photojournalist who helped turn public opinion against Vietnam War
A new exhibition celebrating the life and work of the celebrated Welsh photojournalist, Philip Jones Griffiths, will open at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth on 27 June.
Griffiths, who died in 2008, is best-known for his photographs of civilian casualties and suffering during the war in Vietnam. He published a book of those images in 1971, ‘Vietnam Inc.’, which helped turn public opinion against the war.
Philip Jones Griffiths – A Welsh Focus on War and Peace features photography and slides from the book as well as both earlier and later work. For the first time, many of Griffiths’ cameras, personal papers and artefacts will also be displayed alongside his photographs.
A number of events will be held as part of the exhibition, which will be officially opened by Lord Dafydd Wigley and which runs until 12 December.
On 14 October, an English-language talk will be held about Griffiths’ work, with a Welsh-language talk held on 21 October. The Library’s annual LENS event, which focuses on documentary photography, will also take Griffiths’ work as its theme. This year’s LENS will be held on Saturday 7 November.
Born into a Welsh-speaking family in Rhuddlan, Flintshire, Griffiths originally trained as a pharmacist before pursuing photography. By the early 1960s he was well-established and his work appeared regularly in the national press. In 1966 he was drawn to the war in Vietnam and quickly came to empathise with the ordinary Vietnamese, a people he likened to the fellow Welsh of his hometown.
William Troughton, who has curated the exhibition, which is being held jointly by the Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation and the National Library, said:
“Philip Jones Griffiths didn’t consider himself a traditional war photographer. He was interested in showing the effects and injustices of war on ordinary people - his book ‘Vietnam Inc.’ had a major impact and is considered a classic.
“Griffiths was meticulous in his preparation and this exhibition will offer new insights into his work. It also celebrates a remarkable career that saw Griffiths visit over 100 different countries.”
Dr Aled Gruffydd Jones, National Library of Wales Chief Executive and Librarian, said:
“Philip Jones Griffiths was a world-class photojournalist whose powerful imagery changed minds, yet throughout his travels he never forgot his roots in north east Wales and often talked about his ‘hiraeth’ for home.
“His ability to empathise with ordinary people was among his stand-out qualities and we’re delighted to be staging this new exhibition of his work alongside the Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation.”
For more information please contact Hannah Thomas on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07810 794853 or Lydia Whitfield at Effective Communications on LWhitfield@effcom.co.uk or 07890 953402
- The National Library of Wales can be found off Penglais Hill in Aberystwyth. It is clearly sign-posted along the main roads into the town.
- Entry to the Library is free. The Library is open to the public Monday-Friday, 9:30am-6.00pm and on Saturdays between 9.30am-5.00pm.
- The Library is home to the Philip Jones Griffiths archive, which includes approximately 150,000 slides and 30,000 prints.
- More information on Philip Jones Griffiths on Wikipedia