Françoise Demulder

Photographer, France

1977, World Press Photo of the Year singles, World Press Photo of the Year

1977, 1st prize singles, Spot News

French photojournalist Françoise Demulder (Paris 1947–2008) studied philosophy and went on to work side jobs ranging from modeling to checking press proofs in order to support her love of travel. Headed to Vietnam on a one-way ticket in the early 1970s, Demulder first arrived as a tourist. But with a growing desire to understand the situation there better, she decided to stay. In 1977 she told the Dutch Viva magazine: 'The only way to earn a living was to make photos. I was not a photographer by any means, but there was a great need for photos from Vietnam. I sold about four photos a day to a press bureau, because they were the only ones who paid cash. There has never been as much work as there was then in Vietnam.' Able to move freely around the country, Demulder trained as a war photographer in the field. She remained in Saigon after most foreigners were evacuated. On 30 April 1975 she achieved her first global exclusive when she photographed Vietcong tanks entering the city marking the end of the war. At a time when it was exceptional for women to work in the male-dominated field of war photography, Demulder was one amongst a talented group of French female photographers who carved out a place for themselves through their work in Vietnam. Along with Southeast Asia and the Middle East, she covered news in Cuba, Pakistan and Ethioia. Her work appeared internationally in such publications as Paris Match, Newsweek and Stern. Demulder was the first woman to win the World Press Photo of the year award in 1976. She passed away in 2008.

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WORLD PRESS PHOTO INVOLVEMENT