War photographer Demulder dies aged 61
Thursday 11 September 2008
French war photographer Francoise Demulder, the first woman to win the prestigious World Press Photo award, has died at age 61 of a heart attack at her home in the Paris suburb of Levallois.
French war photographer Francoise Demulder, the first woman to win the prestigious World Press Photo award, has died aged 61, her friend US journalist Phyllis Sipahioglu said Thursday.
She died Tuesday of a heart attack at her home in the Paris suburb of Levallois, Sipahioglu and other friends said at the Perpignan photojournalism festival in southwestern France.
Demulder, known as Fifi to her friends and colleagus, covered many of the major wars of the latter part of the last century, and her pictures featured in magazines such as Time, Stern, Paris Match and Newsweek.
She won the World Press Photo prize in 1976 for a black and white picture of a Palestinian refugee woman pleading with a masked gunman in a war-ravaged district of Beirut.
"Demulder stated at the time that she hated war, but felt compelled to document how it's always the innocent who suffer, while the powerful get richer and richer," the prize's website said.
She worked briefly as a model after studying philosophy in Paris but soon fell in love with Asia.
It was to cover her travelling expenses that she started to sell her photos of Vietnam, said Sipahioglu, who set up Sipa photo agency with her husband Goksin Sipahioglu.
Demulder was one of a very small number of Western journalists in Saigon when communist North Vietnamese entered the city on April 30, 1975, marking the end of the Vietnam War.
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