AUDIO: RIP Tom Stoddart 1953-2021

I met Tom once. Only once. It was at a Sony World Press Photo event at the Empire Leicester Square, one sunny evening. We exchanged brief words and then went about our business. Unbeknown to me he was following what I was doing, with my Hungry Eye magazine and subsequently with The United Nations of Photography. So, when I asked him if he would contribute to the A Photographic Life podcast, a contribution that was included in episode 13, he had no hesitation in saying yes.

He became a regular commentator on and retweeter of comments I posted @unofphoto on Twitter and I will miss his confirmation and questioning. A vote of confidence from Tom meant something, it meant that you were getting something right.

Here is his contribution to episode 13, without my warbling. It’s just Tom, as it should be.

Tom Stoddart began his photographic career on a local newspaper in his native North-East of England. In 1978 he moved to London and began working freelance for publications such as The Sunday Times and Timemagazine. During a long and varied career he has witnessed such international events as the war in Lebanon, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the election of President Nelson Mandela, the bloody siege of Sarajevo, the wars against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. In 1997 Tony Blair gave Stoddart exclusive behind the scenes access to his election campaign as the Labour Party swept to victory after 18 years of Conservative government in the United Kingdom. Over the years Tom has worked with charities and NGO’s such as Medecins Sans Frontieres, Oxfam, Christian Aid, Care International and Sightsavers. His extensive work on the catastrophic AIDS pandemic blighting Africa has been widely published and exhibited. His photography has been honoured with awards from World Press Photo, Visa pour l’image, Pictures Of The Year and the Eddie Adams Workshop. In 2012 his Perspectives retrospective outdoor exhibition was displayed at London’s South Bank and attracted 225,000 visitors. Now established as one of the worlds most respected photojournalists, Stoddart is represented by, and works closely with Getty Reportage, to produce powerful photo-essays on the serious world issues of our time.

Dr. Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, documentary filmmaker, BBC Radio contributor and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019).

Grant’s book What Does Photography Mean to You? including 89 photographers who have contributed to the A Photographic Life podcast is on sale now £9.99

© Grant Scott 2021


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