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Fleet Street Photographer Finch

Patricia Sullivan

Not to glamorize war, but it does provide moments that alert us to the joy of life.

From the Times, the one in London: Terry Fincher, a Fleet Street photographer who died recently, remembered one episode in Vietnam when he was with the Life magazine photographer Larry Burrows on the American-held Hill Timothy. They had dug a trench, which they were hiding in. The stench of war hung in the air. Dead bodies lay near by. Fincher felt very lonely. He wanted to go home. He could have run for a helicopter, but didn't.

"That night it was pitch black and the rockets and shells were coming in thick and fast, landing even closer than the previous night. I tried to sleep through the noise, covering my face with my steel helmet, but it was impossible. In the morning I asked Larry what we should do that day. He looked up at the dark, brooding sky. 'Exposure one second at f2.8,' he said with a grin."

By Patricia Sullivan  |  October 9, 2008; 5:43 PM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan  
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Comments

Why do the Brits do so much better a job of making their obits interesting?

Posted by: wiredog | October 10, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The Brits have been at it longer than we have, and, they have an appreciation for the english language that goes back at least as far as Mr. William Shakespeare! My only complaint is that it takes them forever to get one written! We suppose that they think that its like having a nice glass of a fine, aged, liquor that is well served, allowed to breathe, and is always worth the wait!

Regards,

Joe

Posted by: joe taylor | October 11, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

American obituaries are as much (or sometimes more) news stories about the death as they are profiles of the deceased's life. Because of that they're published as soon as the death is announced and contain mainly verified facts and attributed quotes.

British obituaries are only considered to be profiles of the life, not notices of the death. Because of that, their writers feel more comfortable including hearsay, the reminiscences of third parties, and "what everyone knows but nobody can say". There's also no rush to publish, since the obituary is not meant to be a death notice.

Posted by: Charlene | October 11, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Probably, and arguably, the most important obituary to be written this year was on Alexander Solzhenitsyn. If you want to see the differences between two viewpoints, read the New York Times obit, and then read the one done by the Times of London. Of course, we wouldn't want to leave out our friends here at the Post!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/04/books/04solzhenitsyn.html?pagewanted=1&#

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4458713.ece

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/03/AR2008080301249.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Regards,

Joe

Posted by: Joe taylor | October 14, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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