Iconic French photographer Marc Riboud dies aged 93

French photographer and reporter Marc Riboud in 2009
French photographer and reporter Marc Riboud in 2009 Joel Saget/AFP

One of France's most famous photojournalists, Marc Riboud, whose 1967 snap of a protester confronting US soldiers with a flower captured the movement against the Vietnam war, has died aged 93.


Riboud, equally famed for a 1953 picture of a workman painting the Eiffel Tower high above the Paris skyline, passed away Tuesday after a long illness, a family member confirmed.

His shots appeared in top magazines such as Look, Life, Stern and Paris Match, was among few photographers who managed to enter North Vietnam in the late 1960s.

Born on June 24, 1923, near the eastern city of Lyon to a well-off family, Riboud had six siblings including his brother Antoine, founder of the Danone food giant who died in 2002.

In 1937 at the Exposition Universelle in Paris he took his first photos using a small vest pocket Kodak given to him by his father for his 14th birthday.

During World War II, in 1944, he joined the resistance in the Vercors. From 1945 to 1948 he studied engineering at the Ecole Centrale in Lyon and starts to work. Three years after he decided to become a photographer.

A master of black-and-white imagery, Riboud then joined the prestigious Magnum agency at the invitation of its founders, photography greats Henri-Cartier Bresson and Robert Capa.

Riboud's passion would take him across Asia, with Japan inspiring his first of around 15 books, Women of Japan.

He chronicled developments in China over four decades, also working in Algeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

Photos that he took in 1963 in Cuba where he met Fidel Castro, are currently exhibited in Visa pour l'image Festival in Perpignan.

"He was a great humanist and a great guy," festival director Jean-Francois Leroy told AFP. "Many photographers were inspired by him without ever equalling him."

You can also read: Marc Riboud’s early photographs on show in Lyon

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