"1968 was a tumultuous year of change; Revolution Riot Revelation.
There was the Tet Offensive, the Red Guard, the Merry Month of May in Paris, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Robert Kennedy & Martin Luther King assassinated, 38 cities of ——— ? Across the USA. It went off everywhere, vanguarded by a new wave of music and thought.
It was also the year that 18 year olds were emancipated. They got the vote. Before that you could be drafted to serve and kill but not buy a beer in a bar. In 1968 the ballot boxes went out into the field in Viet Nam, the first time in a war.
LIFE magazine sent out 5 reporter/photographer teams to canvass the new electorate. We all drew different units and specialists. I got a day plodding the sodden boonies with the 9th Division, who were searching for the V.C. teams rocketing Saigon from the south. The platoon I was assigned to were virtually all stoners; growing the weed on the perimeter of their base or getting it from cross border, nearby Cambodia.
They thought that Nixon was a beggar and they would have voted for Bobby if he hadn’t been assassinated - he promised to stop the war in three months." - Tim Page
Tim Page left England at 17 to travel across Europe, the Middle East and to India and Nepal. He found himself in Laos at the time of the civil war and ended up working as a stringer for United Press International. From there he moved on to Saigon where he covered the Vietnam War for the next five years working largely on assignment for TIME-LIFE, UPI, PARIS MATCH and ASSOCIATED PRESS. He also found time to cover the Six Day War in the Middle East in 1967. The role of war-photographer suited Page’s craving for danger and excitement. He became an iconic photographer of the Vietnam War and his pictures were the visual inspiration for many films of the period. The photojournalist in ‘Apocalypse Now’, played by Dennis Hopper was based on Page.
The Vietnam War was the first and last war where there was no censorship, the military actively encouraged press involvement and Page went everywhere, covering everything. He was wounded four times, once by ‘friendly fire’ and the last time was when he jumped out of a helicopter to help load the wounded and the person in front of him stepped on a landmine. He was pronounced DOA at the hospital. He required extensive neuro-surgery and spent most of the seventies in recovery.
It was while he was recovering in hospital in spring 1970 that he learnt that his best friend, house mate and fellow photographer Sean Flynn, son of Hollywood actor Errol, had gone missing in Cambodia. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s Page’s mission was to discover the fate and final resting place of his friend and to erect a memorial to all those in the media that were either killed or went missing in the war. This led him to found the IndoChina Media Memorial Foundation and was the genesis for the book ‘REQUIEM’. With his friend Horst Faas, photo editor for Associated Press and double Pulitzer Prize winner, they co-edited the book and commemorated the work of all the dead and the missing, from all nations, who were lost in the thirty-year struggle for liberation. REQUIEM the exhibition is now on permanent display at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tim Page is the subject of many documentaries, two films and the author of ten books. He spent 5 months in 2009 as the Photographic Peace Ambassador for the UN in Afghanistan and is the recipient of many awards. He was recently named one of the '100 Most Influential Photographers Of All Time'. His interest and passion now is covering the aftermath of war and bringing the world’s attention to the plight of the innocent victims – the bystanders. He returns regularly to Viet Nam and Cambodia to run photo workshops, do assignments and to photograph the mines - and the maimed that are still being injured 30 years on and the still, devastating effects of Agent Orange. Since arriving in Australia Tim has also covered East Timor and The Solomon Islands. He now lives in Brisbane and is an adjunct professor at Griffith University.
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