One of the most fascinating photographers I have ever met, Catherine Leroy, will be the topic of discussion at lecture on March 28 at the New School’s Tisch Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street in Manhattan. Organized by the Aperture Foundation. The title of program is “Women, War, and Photography: A Tribute of Catherine Leroy,” and the moderator is Robert Pledge of Contact Press Images. The panel also features photojournalists Carolyn Cole, Samantha Appleton, David Burnett, Carol Guzy, and Lynsey Addario, as well as Fred Ritchin, director of PixelPress.
Leroy was 21 and, as she once told me, “about 90 pounds, with blonde pigtails” when she took it upon herself to cover the Vietnam War in 1966. She became something of a legend, not only for the images she made but for the danger she repeatedly put herself in. She was captured by the North Vietnamese Army during the Tet Offensive in 1968 and nearly killed while covering another battle. In a sense, the war haunted her for the rest of her life. Leroy died of cancer in July, 2006. Several months before that, American Photo ran photos from what turned out to be her last assignment—photographing several Vietnam vets who had likewise never completely gotten over the war. (Go here to read that story.) These were the same soldiers she’d once turned into icons of the war in her pictures.