There was a tenderness in the war pictures made by Griiffiths—if pictures of war can ever be described as tender. But then as one time he had been a practicing pharmacist, a kind of healer, who only later began photographing part-time for newspapers.
He was a pacifist covering the trial of war. If he brought humanity to the civilians of Vietnam, he also captured the predicament of the American GIs sent to Vietnam to wage war. For me his great picture was the one he made of an American soldier propped casually in a chair, rifle aimed through a window. A doll sits on the floor near the chair. The Americans, he once said in a lecture, were "for the most part…kids who were confused."
In 2006 American Photo named Griffiths as one of the most underrated photographers of the past 30 years. Some people thought it was odd to do so, given his stature. But to a large extent his impact had been forgotten as America dashed away from the memories of the Vietnam War. We asked Philippe Garner, the international director of photography at Christie's in London, to access Griffith's career. Go here for that article.—David Schonauer