In a year when there has been several exhibitions celebrating the work of Hen ri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, The Photographers' Gallery will present a retrospective of the third founding member of Magnum, George Rodger. One of the great British photojournalists of the century, Rodger's images are part of our collective memory - the London blitz, Bergen-Belsen, the tribes of Africa.
Born in 1908, in Hale, Cheshire, Rodger had travelled twice around the world by 1928 taking photographs and writing. It was not until 1936 that he was finally employed as a photographer taking portraits for the BBC magazine The Listener. In 1939 he was offered a freelance contract by Life Magazine to cover the war.
He captured the brutality and chaos of war - the rubble of Coventry in 1940, North Africa in 1941, Burma in 1942, Italy in 1944 and perhaps most movingly, Belsen in 1945 where he photographed the victims, the survivors and the camp workers in an extraordinary series of photographs, after which he vowed never to photograph war again.
Renowned for his integrity and bravery, Rodger belonged to a tradition of explorers and was one of the least pretentious photographers of stature. His warmth and sensitivity towards his subject matter was particularly evident in his African work. In 1948 he set off from Johannesburg on the gruelling 28,000-mile journey across Africa photographing everything in his path, most famously the tribes of the Kordofan province in Southern Sudan.
It was not until the 1980s that Rodger stopped travelling. He died in 1995, a year after the publication of his life's work Humanity and inhumanity: The photographic journey of George Rodger(Phaidon, 1994).
The exhibition will include original vintage material and all prints are for sale.