PhotoLondon 2021 : Tom Stoddart

Tom Stoddart is an award-winning British photojournalist whose work has appeared in the most notable international magazines and newspapers. He is widely regarded by editors and his peers as one of the world’s most experienced and respected photographers. His international frontline assignments included almost every major conflict and natural disaster over four decades, from wars to earthquakes and from the fall of the Berlin Wall to pandemics.

Stoddart’s work is notable for its humanity, putting the casualties of strife to the fore. Described by one of his editors as “still pictures that move”, Stoddart’s work is exemplary in its demonstration of the courage, strength and endurance of those suffering terrible hardship.

His images empower public opinion and remind us all that in a precarious world, we are never far away from sharing a similar fate. His photographs have proved so powerful that they have moved politicians to act and end conflict: his photographs of women being routinely shot by snipers between warring militias in Lebanon forced an almost immediate cessation of the conflict.

His photographic career began with a provincial newspaper in his native North East of England before he moved to London, where he quickly impressed picture editors of the foremost newspapers and magazines and won frontline assignments of the troubled 80s culminating in Desert Storm.

In 1992 he was seriously injured whilst photographing in heavy fighting in Bosnia. After a year of recovery, he produced a powerful feature on the aftermath of the Mississippi floods and, later that year, an award-winning photo-essay on the harsh training regime of Chinese Olympic Child Gymnasts.

In December 1993, Stoddart returned to Sarajevo to report on the hardship of life in the city during a freezing winter under siege. Tom’s acclaimed in-depth work on the HIV/AIDS pandemic blighting sub-Saharan Africa won the POY World Understanding Award in 2003. In the same year, his pictures of British Royal Marines in combat, during hostilities in Iraq, were awarded the Larry Burrows Award for Exceptional War Photography. His book iWITNESS was honoured as the best photography book published in the US, and his first major exhibition in London in 2012 attracted nearly a quarter of a million visitors.

Stoddart is the recipient of many Lifetime Achievement awards from his peers and his new book, Extraordinary Women: Images of Courage, Endurance and Defiance was published in October 2020 by ACC Art Books and Iconic Images.

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