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Jan Rose Kasmir Facing the Pentagon and Guns, Washington by Marc Riboud, 1967
Flower Child, Jan Rose Kasmir Facing the Pentagon and Guns, Washington © Marc Riboud 1967 | Image source internet

Marc Riboud

Taking pictures is savouring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.

– Marc Riboud

Marc Riboud (1923 – 2016) was a French photographer best known for capturing politically charged moments during the Cultural Revolution in China, the Vietnam War, and protests in the United States during the 1960s.  Marc Riboud is born in 1923 in Saint-Genis-Laval near Lyon. In 1937 at the Exposition Universelle in Paris he took his first photo using a small vest-pocket Kodak given to him by his father for his 14th birthday. In 1944 he joined the resistance in the Vercors. From 1945 – 1948 he studied engineering at the Ecole Centrale in Lyon and starts to work. Three years after he decides to become a photographer. In 1953 his photograph of a painter on the Eiffel Tower appeared in Life Magazine. This was his first publication, and the image is still considered iconic.

Between 1955 and 1986, Marc Riboud would travel the globe. Unlike many photojournalists whose visitations generally extend only within the confines of their given assignment, Riboud on the other hand took the proverbial stroll. From 1955-1960 he would travel the Near East, the Far East, India, Nepal, China, the Soviet Union, and take a motor tour from Alaska to Mexico. He started his road trip in 1955, through the Middle East and Afghanistan to India and stayed there for one year. In 1957 he traveled from Calcutta to China making the first of what will be many long stays. His road trip to the East ended in Japan where he found the subject for what will become his first book, Women of Japan. In 1960, after a three-month stay in the USSR, he covered the struggles for independence in Algeria and Sub-Saharan Africa. Between 1968 and 1969 he photographed both South and North Vietnam. Marc was one of the few photographers who were allowed entry. This decade-long documentation of the people and activities in Africa, Algeria, China, North and South Vietnam, and Cambodia was impressive. Between 1970 and 1980 he would return to the Near East and the Far East and explore Poland and Czechoslovakia. \

Invited by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa he joined Magnum Photos agency, which he eventually left in 1979. Agency. Since that time he has revisited the breadth of Asia and Europe and eventually resettled in his homeland of France. In 2011 Marc Riboud made a donation in payment of 192 original prints made between 1953 and 1977 to the National Museum of Modern Art (Centre Georges Pompidou), Paris. His works have been distinguished by prestigious awards and are exhibited in museums and galleries in Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, etc. Marc Riboud passed away in Paris, at 93 years old, on August 30th 2016. The core of his archives has been donated to the National Museum of Asian Arts – Guimet, Paris.

In this iconic anti-war image titled Flower Child (1967), Riboud has captured the intimate moment of a young protestor holding a flower towards National Guardsmen poised with bayonets outside the Pentagon.

Published on January 01, 2021
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