French war photographer Marie-Laure de Decker dead at 75

Marie-Laure de Decker, a French model who turned to photography to become a renowned war photographer, passed away on Saturday at the age of 75, her family announced.

She had a protracted illness before passing away on Saturday, according to her relatives.

She began her career as a model after being born in Algeria, which was still a French colony, before opting to venture into photography.

She captured iconic images of the artists Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and writer Philippe Soupault in the late 1960s.

She covered the Vietnam War early in her career and met with success despite her relative lack of experience.

“I said to myself: people are going to see that I’m not a real photographer,” she wrote in a 1985 memoir. She only had an old Leica camera with her, she recalled.

“In fact, I realised afterwards, this old Leica was a marvel.”

She faced particular challenges working as a female war photographer, she said. “If you’re a woman, you’re never taken seriously.”

On the other hand, she added: “There is an advantage to being a woman, as was the case in South Africa — they don’t kill you right away, they give you a chance.”

The current chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad, paid tribute to her on Saturday while expressing his “great sadness” over the news of her passing.

She “immortalised part of the history of Chad” with her photos, he claimed on Twitter.

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