British photographer Tom Stoddart is Dead – cause of death

Here is Tom @Stoddart_Photos at John Downing’s book launch in October 2019. Tom was instrumental in getting the book published along with Colin at @bluecoatpress.

British photographer Tom Stoddart who took this famous photo during the war in Bosnia has sadly passed away. (Personal note: I have been at this exact location many times during the war.)

Reeling from the news that the great photographer Tom Stoddart has died. I had the privilege of making prints for him in a previous chapter. I loved our chats and lunches together but we haven’t seen each other for years. I regret that now. Rest in peace, Tom, you clever chap.

British photojournalist Tom Stoddart, author of one of the most famous photographs taken in wartime Sarajevo, passed away today at the age of 68. Stoddart is one of many foreign photojournalists who sent pictures from besieged Sarajevo to the world during the war.

In mid-1993, he took a photograph of “Women of Sarajevo”, in which it is possible to see Sarajka Meliha Varešanović. Stoddart later referred to the moment this photo was taken in an interview with Reportage magazine, saying that it was taken at the bloodiest moment.

I worked on a photo essay documenting the lives of women in wartime Sarajevo. Every day, these women bravely went for bread and water, constantly targeted by snipers. The streets of Dobrinja were especially dangerous and people did not expose themselves to danger unnecessarily.

Sniper shots were heard and I found shelter behind sandbags, and at that moment, suddenly, a woman appeared on a deserted street. She walked proudly, her head held high, and had lipstick on her lips, high heels, and a colorful dress. I managed to take three or four shots with my Leica as she passed me, ”Stoddart recounted.

He added that after the war he decided to return to BiH and find Meliha Varešanović to photograph her again and interview her. The proud Sarajka then told him that she was extremely happy that this war video existed and that he was sending a clear message to the snipers: “You will never defeat us!”.

The photograph “Woman of Sarajevo” has been put up for auction, and the starting price is 1,500 pounds. The author has received numerous offers and awards since 1993, and the famous Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has one copy of this photo.

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