Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Remembering Tim Page Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

24 August 2022

Tim Page, who was wounded four times covering the Vietnam war, died today at home in Bellingen, Australia, from liver cancer. He was 78.

A model for the photographer played by Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now, Page was hit in the head by shrapnel when a soldier he was with stepped on a mine. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, revived, died again and was again revived before being transferred to the U.S. where he required months of recovery and rehabilitation from the loss of brain tissue.

Then he went back to work with his cameras.

In his book Dispatches, Michael Herr said he "liked to augment his field gear with freak paraphernalia, scarves and beads."

When Herr himself died in 2016, Page memorialized him in an essay published by The Guardian. He wrote:

Did we really traipse down that mountain through a minefield stoned, in the dark at Ba Xoai special forces camp? Blew the A-Team dudes away. Did we really attend a Cambo strikers wedding, clicks away, traveling back and forth in a 3/4 tonner with hardly a weapon, the whole team pissed? We chugged up the Perfume river atop a barge full of 155mm shells, clung to the side of a hovercraft. We goofed around at the war until the incoming made you as straight as needed.

He called that the glamour of war. But in later years, the shine wore off.

"I don't think anybody who goes through anything like war ever comes out intact," he said in an interview with The New York Times in 2010. In that piece he talks about looking for the remains of two fellow photographers, Sean Flynn and Dana Stone, who had taken their motorcycles into Cambodia to find Khmer Rouge guerrillas.

Page was born in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in Britain on May 25, 1944. His father was a British sailor killed in World War II. Adopted, he never knew his birth mother.

He left England at 17, traveling to Europe and the Middle East, India, Nepal and into Laos at the start of the Indochina war.

He worked as a stringer for United Press International, earning a job with his photographs of a 1965 attempted coup in Laos. The next five years he spent covering the Vietnam War, working on assignment for Time, Life and Paris Matchmagazines, UPI and the Associated Press.

In 1967, he left Vietnam briefly to cover the Arab-Israeli war.

In the 1970s, he became what he called a "gonzo" photographer, covering the world of rock, hippies and Vietnam veterans. His work from that period appeared in music magazines like Crawdaddy and Rolling Stone.

But he also returned to Vietnam after the war for various assignments and to run photography workshops. While there he photographed victims of Agent Orange, the carcinogenic defoliant that had been sprayed by the U.S. to clear jungles.

He spent five months in 2009 as the Photographic Peace Ambassador for the United Nations in Afghanistan. After covered conflict in East Timor and the Solomon Islands, he settled near Brisbane, Australia, serving as an adjunct professor at Griffith University.

Among the dozen books he published were two memoirs and most Requiem, a collection of pictures by the 135 photographers killed in various Indochina wars.

"At the end of the day," he said in talking about the book, "the mysticism of it -- living, not living -- becomes a mystery and I don't think we are ever privileged except on death's doorstep to actually understand it."

He is survived by Marianne Harris, his longtime partner, and by his son, Kit, with an earlier partner Clare Clifford, who also survives him.

BackBack to Photo Corners