I've been visiting my folks in Wales, so ironically missed news of the death of Philip Jones Griffiths, as the Land of My Fathers was too busy patting itself on the back after winning the Grand Slam, so didn't find much time to pay tribute to arguably the greatest Welsh visual artist of the 20th Century, and one of the Worlds pre-eminent photojournalists.
He was most widely known for his epic work Vietnam Inc, which to this day, still stands head and shoulders above the simplistic hand-wringing-war-is-bad-boo-hoo-stating-the-bleedin'-obvious brand of photography that's dominated conflict coverage, and which has now for the most part reached a craven nadir in Iraq and Afghanistan.
PJG: "I think the one thing that few people understand, is that the journalists en-masse, who covered the Vietnam war, I would say 98 percent of them were in favour of the war - every aspect of the war.
About 1.99 percent were in favour of the war, but critical of the tactics being used.
And there was me and a couple of French people, who said no, the whole thing was bloody immoral and wrong."
Philip Jones Griffiths died on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the most photographed conflict in history, but the one about which we seem to know the least. There is a direct correlation there, and Jones Griffiths would have spotted it in an instant:
PJG: "One is denying oneself what photography is about, if you just believe in 'The Media', 'The System' out there, the magazines and newspapers.
The 'Freedom of the Press' belongs to he who owns one, and I don't own one....I've never had that faith in 'The System' to get the message out...
...I think a lot of the photographers who have come along since, DO believe in 'The System'. They do believe that double page spread in Time Magazine is of value..."
Philip Jones Griffiths documented cultural, social and economic conflict, with a coruscating analysis of the forces fuelling it, alongside unrepentant support for its opponents and victims - not just back-slapping 'bang-bang' war-porn which often wallows in the destruction it purports to condemn, and is happy to exist in a journalistic and moral void.
PJG: "I want to know why. Why is what is most important to me.
Why is this child starving? Not 'let us for the umpteenth time, capture the pathos of the starving child'.
You've got to say why.
...I think its important to say that - otherwise, there's a sort of unresolved mass of imagery which in the end, sort of floats over people."
Philip Jones Griffiths might not have recognised Wales now. In Cardiff, the statue of Nye Bevan looks over a shopping precinct where stores sell Chinese-made rugby shirts and trinkets. Like many small nations, its identity has been largely subsumed by globalised consumer culture, a phenomenon Jones Griffiths had documented for decades before 'Globalisation' became a buzzword.
PJG: "One question I ask myself is why my radicalism is not fading with age. Traditionally it is the way to go, yet mine gets stronger every day.
Fortunately there are still photojournalists to record what is happening.
Let their pictures provide power to the people!"
Bwyso I Mewn Dangnefedd, Philip Jones Griffiths 1936 - 2008.