Vietnam War photographer Tim Page dies in Australia at 78

CANBERRA, Australia — Legendary Vietnam War photographer, writer and counter-culture documentary Tim Page died Wednesday at his Australian home. He was 78 years old.

The British-born, self-taught photographer died of liver cancer with friends at his bedside at his rural home in Fernmount, New South Wales, friends reported on social media.

Ben Bohane, an Australian friend and fellow photojournalist, described Page as one of the world’s greatest war photographers and also a “true humanist.”

“He always said it was more important to be a decent person than a great photographer. So his humanism, through his photojournalism, really shone through,” Bohane told the Australian Broadcasting Corp on Thursday.

“One of his famous lines was, ‘the only good war photo is an anti-war photo,'” added Bohane.

Page was wounded four times as a war reporter covering the conflicts in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 1960s and 1970s.

He stood out for his flamboyant and extravagant personality, as well as his talent and dedication as a photographer. He inspired the drug-addicted photojournalist played by Dennis Hopper in the Francis Coppola-directed, Oscar-winning 1979 Vietnam War film “Apocalypse Now.”

Page has embraced and documented drug culture in Indochina and the United States since the 1960s.

Beginning in the late 1960s, he worked as a freelance photographer for music magazines such as Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy, sharing assignments with some of the most important writers of the time, such as Hunter S. Thompson. Page embraced his reputation as a “Gonzo photographer”.

He was arrested along with Jim Morrison when Doors frontman was famously dragged off a stage in New Haven, Connecticut by police in 1967. Morrison was arrested for inciting riots, indecency and public obscenity. Page was arrested while interfering with the police. Both spent the night in police cells before the charges were dropped.

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In addition to the wars in Indochina, Page also covered conflicts in Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands, Israel, Bosnia and East Timor.

Page wrote a dozen books about his war experiences and music.

He was born in Tunbridge Wells in England on 25 May 1944. He was raised by foster care after his father, a merchant seaman, was killed in a submarine attack in the North Atlantic.

He left Britain in 1962 and traveled through Europe, the Middle East and then Asia where he began photographing a civil war in Laos.

He created iconic images of the Vietnam War while working for news organizations such as the AP, UPI, Time-Life and Paris Match.

He moved to Australia in 2002 to be with his longtime Australian partner Marianne Harris and became an adjunct professor of photojournalism at Griffith University in Brisbane, Queensland.

He is survived by Harris and Kit Clifford, his son from a previous relationship with Clare Clifford.

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