Today we continue our conversation with Vietnam War photographer, Philip Jones Griffiths.
America’s long nightmare in Vietnam worsened considerably in 1966 with the arrival in Saigon of a garrulous andcantankerous Welshman by the name of Philip Jones Griffiths. Perhaps more than any other photographer covering thewar, Griffiths showed Americans what the war was doing to the people of Vietnam. His thesis, articulated in an angrybook called Vietnam Inc., was that the war was destroying a society from which America could usefully learn, thateverything happening in Vietnam was being done against the will of the people, that 2,000 years of tradition werebeing replaced by an alien materialistic democracy.
Vietnam Inc. was one of the most powerful photographic testaments to emerge from the war; it shattered many of themyths about Vietnam and had a devastating affect on the American perception of what was happening in that farawaycountry. It was what Griffiths wished. "To me, there is no point in pressing the shutter unless you are making somecaustic comment on the incongruities of life. That is what photography is all about. It is the only reason fordoing it."
But instead of just quoting his words, we can hear from the man himself. I am sitting next to Philip Jones Griffithsin our firehouse studio.
- Philip Jones Griffiths, photographer and author, ??Vietnam Inc. Since his first trip to SoutheastAsia three decades ago, Philip Jones Griffiths has returned numerous times. A new edition of Vietnam Inc. waspublished in September 2001 with a forward by Noam Chomsky. Chomsky was profoundly affected by the book when it wasoriginally published.