AN EXHIBITION of work by one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century has opened at Wrexham Museum.

War and Peace: Philip Jones Griffiths and the Power of Photography, concentrates on the work of the man from Rhuddlan and specifically from his photographs taken during two extended conflicts, the Vietnam War and the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Philip took up photography at the age of 14 and his first photograph, taken on a box brownie, was of a friend in a rowing boat at the seaside near Holyhead. Two years later he joined the Rhyl Camera Club and while still a schoolboy, he was photographing weddings and working as a photographer at the nearby Golden Sands holiday camp.

Initially ‘the rest of the world’ meant Liverpool University, where Philip studied Pharmacy, and London Piccadilly, where in 1959 he got a job in the local branch of Boots the Chemist. There he worked nights so he could freelance for The Sunday Times and The Guardian, before joining the staff of The Observer as a full-time photographer in 1961.

Assignments in Africa, North America and throughout Europe soon followed. By 1966 the pleasures of constant international travel were waning and Griffiths wanted a long-term project where he would have more control. With 180,000 American military personnel in Vietnam, it was obvious where he had to go.

Jonathan Gammond, Access and Interpretation Officer for Wrexham said: “Wrexham Museum was approached by the National Library of Wales who offered access to the Philip Jones Griffiths archive held in Aberystwyth.

“With the centenary of the end of the First World War in mind, we decided to concentrate on Griffiths’ war photographs or to be more precise, his anti-war photographs.

“Philip Jones Griffiths was a man on a mission to get to the truth and to record and reveal the impact of war on civilians, whether in Vietnam, Northern Ireland or the Middle East.”

His book, Vietnam Inc., first published in 1971, is one of the classic photo-journalism publications of the 20th century. Even fellow journalists were surprised when he broke cover and published this visual testimony to the realities of war.

He has been praised by world famous French photographer, Henri Cartier Bresson; Pulitzer prize winning journalist John Pilger; and academic/political activist, Noam Chomsky for his work in the ‘field’.

Mr Gammond added: “I would like to acknowledge the support of the curators at the National Library of Wales, Jaimie Thomas and Mari Elin Jones; local photographers, David Heke and Craig Colville; and the Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation for the Study of War for helping to make this exhibition possible.”

The exhibition is on show until March 2, 2019 and admission is free.