French veteran photographer Marc Riboud wins award

Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:03pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White LONDON (Reuters) - Veteran French photographer Marc Riboud, whose pictures captured everything from the Vietnam war to everyday scenes of Parisian life, will be honored with a lifetime achievement prize at the Sony World Photography Awards.

The 85-year-old is probably best known for his 1967 image of a girl, Jane Rose Kasmir, holding a flower in her hand and standing in front of a row of soldiers whose rifles are raised during a U.S. demonstration against the war in Vietnam.

Describing himself as a shy character, Riboud said that in his youth he often sought solace from a noisy household and six siblings by going out alone to take photographs.

He also got a taste for adventure and independence while fighting with the French resistance during World War Two, which would serve him well over decades of travel across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

"What comes out of those experiences is my ... independence," Riboud told Reuters by telephone.

"Even when I was at (photo cooperative) Magnum, I refused an assignment, a very important one, because it was for the National Geographic and I thought they were too rigid and professional. Magnum thought I was crazy," he added, speaking in English.

Riboud started taking pictures with his father's Kodak camera as a teen-ager, but until his mid-20s studied engineering.

He met Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, the founders of Magnum, joined the agency in 1953 and remained there for almost three decades, taking on senior positions along the way.

Riboud believes instinct, and a "predisposition" for photography are key, and insists that when he started out "I had no idea about technique and don't even now."   Continued...