Remembering Michel du Cille: Photos Of Sorrow And Triumph In Liberia

December 12, 2014

Three-time Pulitzer winning photographer Michel du Cille died on Thursday while on assignment in Liberia for The Washington Post. The paper says du Cille collapsed while walking on foot from a village in Liberia’s Bong County. He was taken to a hospital but died of an apparent heart attack.

Du Cille, 58, was renowned, known for capturing intimate scenes of sorrow and triumph. The Washington Post has an obituary of the Jamaican-born du Cille.

We’ll remember him here with four photographs he took in Liberia, covering the Ebola outbreak. Back in October, du Cille wrote for the paper that this assignment was tough, because throughout his career he’s always aimed for compassion and dignity.

“Respect is often the last and only thing that the world can offer a deceased or dying person,” he wrote for the Post. “Yet the camera itself seems to be a betrayal of the dignity I so hope to offer. Sometimes, the harshness of a gruesome scene simply cannot be sanitized. How does one give dignity to the image of a woman who has died and is lying on the ground, unattended, uncovered and alone as people walk by or gaze from a distance? But I believe that the world must see the horrible and dehumanizing effects of Ebola. The story must be told; so one moves around with tender care, gingerly, without extreme intrusion.”

(An aside: Remember, du Cille was uninvited to speak at Syracuse University during the Ebola scare in the U.S.)

Here is some of his work:

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