The Heartbreaking Loss Of Tom Stoddart

A Legend Of A Friend To Many, An Inspiration To Many More and A Legendary Photojournalist To The World

It was with exceptional sadness that I found that earlier today, Tom Stoddart had passed away. Absolutely devastating news.

Photographer Tom Stoddart at the Coach and Horses, Kew Green. October 04, 2009. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

One of the most amazing people I had the absolute honour and pleasure to meet and count as a colleague and a friend. 

We first met when I gatecrashed the National Geographic magazine’s party at Visa Pour L’Image, some time in the 1990s. Found Tom at the bar when I went to get drinks. With our beers in hand, we just started chatting like best friends, for probably over an hour! Kindness, wisdom, patience, all for the 20 something year old kid he’s just been practically accosted by! I was a huge fan of his exceptional work and from that evening onwards, became a huge fan of the thoughtful gentleman behind the camera. 

I’m heartbroken. The world of journalism has lost a true great and all of us who were fortunate to know Tom, have lost a true and inspiring friend. Every conversation with Tom was always interesting and usually, had a lesson in life too, garnered from his experiences photographing some of the worst in humanity, whilst always finding how the best in humanity can shine through in those dire moments and places.

You can see the breadth, depth and exceptionalism of Tom’s work on his Instagram, Tom Stoddart Photos.

Photographer Tom Stoddart at his Perspectives Exhibition, More London Riverside. August 08, 2012. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

When I got in touch with Tom last year, to say we were putting together a fundraising print sale for Médecins Sans Frontières’ Covid-19 fund, he didn’t hesitate to offer one of his amazing photographs. More than any one of the 42 photographers involved, he would constantly check in to see how things were going leading up to the sale and if he could help in any way.

The first time I had heard of MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières), it was through Tom’s extraordinary work, documenting the famine and humanitarian crisis in Sudan in 1998. He had based himself at an MSF aid station, but had taken all the food and water he needed for his stay, as he refused to use up any resources which were there for the local population and the medical team who had gone to their aid. On his return, The Guardian newspaper published a selection of the images in August 1998, with one displayed prominently on the front page. At Tom’s request, the text included a phone for readers to donate to MSF. As a direct result of people seeing these images, more than £100,000 was raised for the charity. If memory recalls, Tom insisted the same conditions on other major publications and much more was actually raised. In fact the print that Tom donated to our print auction, was from this trip. A wonderful photography showing a rare moment of joy between siblings at Ajiep, in Bahr El Ghazal Province , south Sudan.

Through your exceptional work, ethos, compassion, empathy and depth, much admired and a true inspiration to us all.

We have all lost a legendary friend and a legendary photojournalist.

Rest dear Tom.

Photographer Tom Stoddart at his Perspectives Exhibition, More London Riverside. August 08, 2012. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

This short film interview with Tom is an absolute must watch.

Tom Stoddart | Witness from Neale James on Vimeo.


A few links to obituaries and galleries, which give a taste of Tom’s absolute dedication, talent and empathy:

In place of flowers, an opportunity to donate to the place that’s been treating our friend Tom Stoddart for over a year.

This memorial page is to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which is based at the Freeman Hospital where Tom was treated for 18 months.

Please donate:

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