The highly acclaimed British photojournalist, Tom Stoddart, has died at the age of 68.
Stoddart’s career, which began at a local newspaper in his native north-east of England and spanned four decades, was much admired and deeply respected for its humanity, depth and perspective.
Covering almost every major conflict and natural disaster, from wars to earthquakes, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to Tony Blair’s 1997 election campaign (to which he was given exclusive access), Stoddart started photographing almost exclusively in black and white in the early 1990s. In an interview with the Evening Standard in 2019, he quoted the Canadian photographer Ted Grant: “If you photograph in colour, you see the colour of their clothes, but if you photograph in black and white, you see the colour of their soul.” This gave Stoddart’s work in Sarajevo, where he documented the Bosnian War, a particular edge. But his talent lay in the ability to see humanity in all its guises: he was equally brilliant at capturing great humour.
What is undeniable is that his pictures touched people deeply and allowed us to view some extraordinary events through the eyes of a photography master. His family released a statement today (17 November), perfectly summing up his work: “Tom touched the lives of so many as a brilliant, compassionate, courageous photographer whose legacy of work will continue to open the eyes for generations. He gave voice to those who did not have one and shone a light where there had been darkness.”
On a personal note, I will never forget the thrill I felt on the rare occasion that he “liked” one of my photographs on Instagram. He was a warm and generous presence in the photography community, and will be much missed.
All photos: Tom Stoddart / Getty Images