Preview: Perspectives – Tom Stoddart, White Cloth Gallery

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For more than 40 years, photojournalist Tom Stoddart has been a witness to history.

Through his powerful reporting, from the bloody days of the Siege of Sarajevo, the dramatic events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the election of South Africa’s first black president, he shares an unblinking, unsettling and disturbingly powerful vision of events.

In Perspectives, he not only shows the darkness but also captures the undimmed light of the human spirit.

Amongst many diverse and complex assignments, he revealed to the world the extent of the Aids pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, which won the POY World Understanding Award in 2003. In the same year, his pictures of Royal Marines in Iraq was awarded the Larry Burrows Award for Exceptional War Photography. In 2004 his book iWitness was acclaimed as the best photography book published in the USA.

Earthquakes, environmental protests, floods, the regime of the Chinese Olympic child gymnasts and the intimate diary of Tony Blair’s 1997 election triumph have all been carefully observed.

Born in Morpeth, Tom began his journalistic photographic career in the North East before moving to London as freelance.

Working for The Sunday Times, he was in Beirut as the Israelis bombed Arafat’s PLO base, and he reported from the Rainbow Warrior as Greenpeace tried to stop the Canadian seal cull.

His work documenting the siege in Sarajevo was published across the world. Returning a year later for The Sunday Times Magazine, Tom was seriously injured in heavy fighting around the Bosnian Parliament buildings.

This is a must-see exhibition.

The images Tom Stoddart produces are as memorable and multi-layered as the subjects themselves and stand as a powerful body of evidence for both the humanity and inhumanity found in extreme situations.

Until Nov 19, White Cloth Gallery, 24-26 Aire Street, Leeds, LS1 4HT

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