John Phillips


1914 – 1996


Who was John Phillips?

John Phillips was a photographer for Life magazine from the 1930s to the 1950s who was known for his war photographs.

French by birth, John Phillips was born in Algeria, to a Welsh emigre father and an American mother. He spent his early childhood in an Arab world, before his family moved to France in 1925, first to Paris and then to Nice.

He was hired by Life in 1936 and his first assignment was to cover Edward VIII's opening of Parliament. His pictures were included in the magazine's first issue and he went on to cover many events of the Second World War. He photographed Yugoslav guerrilla leader Draza Mihailovich in June 1946 during his Communist show trial in Belgrade. He shot the last images of Antoine de Saint Exupery in 1944. Saint Exupery, days before he disappeared, gave Phillips a manuscript, "Letter to an American " which Phillips eventually donated to France.

John Phillips has been described as the "grand-godfather of photo-journalism, a master of lenses and multiple languages; elegant, exuberant and chrome-steel effectual, who has recorded in his own peripatetic way some of the freshest footprints of history."

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Nov 13, 1914
Aug 22, 1996

on July 23, 2013


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