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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

'Pictures Will Be Our Epitaph':

The Independent, October 25th, 2006

by Ben Felsenburg

Denis Cameron, photographer: born Minneapolis, Minnesota 19 October 1928; twice married (one son, one daughter); died London 6 October 2006.

No surprise that a photographer's life should range far and wide, but Denis Cameron was something else. Like a real-life Zelig, he seemed to pop up at every event of political and cultural significance for a few decades in the second half of the 20th century—except, unlike Woody Allen's character, Cameron was the one behind the camera. He photographed Hollywood stars and the war in Vietnam; his pictures were the common denominator of the Prague Spring, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ayatollah Khomeini, Sophia Loren and Errol Flynn in a casket.

He made his home in Los Angeles, Paris and London, but for a time more than anywhere Cameron belonged in South-East Asia. He loved Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the countries and their people; having initially been sent on assignment by Time and Newsweek for a couple of months in late 1969, he stayed for six years. The war was rolling across borders into an increasingly wide and bloody conflict, and Cameron's camera caught all aspects of the devastation: again and again he documented the suffering of children in the midst of war, but also he knew how to point a camera at a man with a gun and still find the humanity in a battle-weary face. There was dark humour in his reportage—"My God! How'd we get in this mess?" emblazoned on the door of a US helicopter gun-ship.

Cameron was graced with a bloodless nerve that stood out even among the diehards of Vietnam....


Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON, thanks to Tim


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