Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/08/18

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Subject: [Leica] Carl Mydans
From: feli at (Feli di Giorgio)
Date: Wed Aug 18 11:30:39 2004
References: <01cb01c48525$18b473e0$>

On Wed, 2004-08-18 at 06:13, B. D. Colen wrote:
>  I think George Rodger is still alive, the last original member of 
> Magnum...

Nope, he went to the big newsroom in the sky a few years ago.


George Rodger
British, b. 1908 - d.1995

Born in Hale, Cheshire, to a family of Scottish ancestry, George Rodger
was a self-taught photographer who at first wanted to be a writer and
had an urge to document the world as it was. 

After his studies at St. Bees College (1921-25), served in the British
Merchant Navy. By 1929 he had been around the world three times but had
never seen London. 

After a difficult period in the United States under the Great
Depression, Rodger worked as a photographer for the BBC (1936-38), then
briefly for the Black Star Agency, publishing his pictures in Tattler,
Sketch, Bystander, and the Illustrated London News. 

His pictures of the London Blitz brought him attention from Life
magazine and from 1939 to 1945 he was a Life war correspondent. He
covered Free French activities in West Africa, winning 18 campaign
medals for his courage, then the war front in Eritrea, Abyssinia, and
the Western Desert, ended up in Iran and Burma and traveled to North
Africa ,Sicily and Salerno, Italy, where he met and befriended Robert

After his coverage of the liberation of France, Belgium and Holland,
Rodger was the first photographer to enter Bergen-Belsen in April, 1945.
He photographed the concentration camp for Time and Life then the German
surrender at Luneburg in May.

After his traumatic experience of looking for "nice compositions" in
front of the dead, Rodger decided that he did not want to be a war
photographer or to photograph violence in any form. Disappointed by his
post-war assignments at Time-Life he got himself fired and embarked on a
28,000-mile journey all over Africa and the Middle East, progressively
concentrating on animal life, rituals and ways of life in close
relationship with nature. 

In 1947 Rodger was invited to be one of the founding members of Magnum
with Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Seymour and Bill
Vandivert. His next major trip was a Cape-to-Cairo journey where he made
extraordinary pictures of the Kordofan Nuba tribe. They first appeared
in National Geographic (1951), then were published in Village des
Noubas(1955) with Rodger's own text. 

>From the 1950s to 1980 Rodger made more than fifteen expeditions to
Africa. His assignments included People Are People the World Over,
Generation Children, a group project inspired by Capa (1954), then
assignments for Standard Oil Company and Esso in the Middle East, Africa
and Ethiopia. His reportages in color on the Sahara, the Tuaregs, and
animal life, with texts by his wife, journalist Jinx Rodger, were
published in National Geographic.

In 1970 Rodger became a Magnum contributor. In 1975, 1977 and 1980 he
returned to Africa on British Arts Council Bursaries and photographed
circumcision rituals of the Masai Moran that had never been witnessed by
a white man. 

His work has been extensively exhibited in Europe and he has received
numerous awards and Honorary Doctorates.

In reply to: Message from bdcolen at (B. D. Colen) ([Leica] Carl Mydans)