Page last updated at 06:26 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 07:26 UK

Photojournalist's work comes home to Rhuddlan


Philip Jones Griffiths became famous for his war photography in Vietnam

An exhibition of work by a world-renowned photographer is to go on display in his home village in Denbighshire for the first time.

Philip Jones Griffiths, who died of cancer in 2008, was best known for his war images in Vietnam - where his ashes are being scattered this week.

He developed his skills in Britain in the 1950s and 60s, and those images are shown in the Recollections exhibition.

The exhibition will be on display at Rhuddlan Library until 8 May.

It includes a picture of young children captured in a street in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, in 1952, a Merthyr Tydfil miner in 1993, and Beatle John Lennon in 1963.

Described as "one of the greatest and most influential photographers of the late twentieth century", Mr Jones Griffiths was born in Rhuddlan in 1936.

He left Wales aged 16, but said his upbringing as a Welshman was the basis for everything he did.

Selwyn Thomas, a county and town councillor, remembers Mr Jones Griffiths well.

He said: "He was a lot older than me.

"He lived in Hylas Lane, and his grandfather kept a sweet shop.

"I remember him saying he was going to do some experiments in his shed and he blew it up - later on he went from chemistry to photography."

A former town mayor, Mr Thomas added: "I was asked to greet him when he was honoured at the Eisteddfod in Denbigh in 2001.

"I thought I'd do a little trick on him and found all of his old school chums and invited them to the community centre without him knowing.

"He was absolutely stunned. I can still remember the look on his face. He sent me a signed book afterwards to say thank you."

Mr Thomas now wants to erect a plaque honouring Mr Jones Griffiths in his home town.

He said: "It's wonderful that his exhibition is coming to Rhuddlan.

"But when it's over we should arrange some kind of plaque.

"He's part of our history, and world history."

Kodak Brownie

Mr Jones Griffiths took pictures with a Kodak Brownie camera from an early age but after studying chemistry at Liverpool University, spent 10 years in science.

He launched his career as a freelance photographer for the Observer newspaper in 1961, covering the Algerian war in 1962 before travelling across central Africa.

In a career that took him to more than 120 countries, Mr Jones Griffiths covered everything from Buddhism in Cambodia, drought in India, poverty in Texas and the legacy of the Gulf war in Kuwait.

His work in Vietnam was collated into a book, published in 1971, which became crucial in challenging attitudes to the war in the United States.

His daughters Fanny and Katherine and Gigi Giannuzzi, who published the Recollections collection, are currently in Vietnam scattering some of his ashes.

The remainder will be spread in Cambodia.

A spokeswoman for publishers Trolley Books said: "That's what he wanted."

Mr Jones Griffiths was also president of the famous Magnum picture agency for five years.

In an interview with the BBC news website published in 2005, Mr Jones Griffiths said: "The only thing we photographers really want more than life, more than sex, more than anything, is to be invisible."

Mr Jones Griffiths was 72 when he died at his London home following a battle with cancer in 2008.

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