Goksin Sipahioglu: Acclaimed photojournalist who went on to found the Sipa agency

Himself a daring frontline photojournalist from the 1950s onwards, Göksin Sipa-hioglu founded the Paris-based Sipa photo agency, which went on to become one of the most respected and most successful in the world.

Following in the footsteps of the great Magnum co-operative, which had been launched in both Paris and New York after the Second World War, Sipa attracted some of the best photographers and photojournalists from around the globe, perhaps best-known for their coverage of wars, disasters and other major stories.

Having spent most of his life in Paris, Sipahioglu was dubbed "le Grand Turc" by the French media. He launched or accelerated the careers of some of the greatest photojournalists and war photographers of recent years including the Iranians Abbas (Attar) and Reza (Deghati) and the Frenchmen Luc Delahaye and Patrick Chauvel. "He managed Sipa as a father," the agency said, announcing his death.

Sipa, still providing many of the photos we see in our papers, TV screens and online every day, was one of three Paris-based agencies – along with Gamma and Sygma – that dominated world photojournalism from the 1970s until the digital revolution allowed freelancers to transmit and sell directly to media outlets. In those pre-digital days, photographers would send their rolls of film via international courier services – or sometimes by persuading or paying an airline passenger to "pigeon" their film to someone from their agency, who would pick them up at the arrival gate.

During his own career behind the lens, initially for Turkish newspapers, Sipahioglu was one of the few "western" reporters or photographers in Havana during the 1962 missile crisis. With President Kennedy poised to take out Soviet missiles on Cuba, Havana was not high on the list of places to be for normal foreigners. But Sipahioglu stayed, and conveyed to the world much of the tension of the time, famously capturing a young, armed civilian girl protecting a Havana bank on behalf of her revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. That and many of his other images of the crisis appeared on the front pages of countless US newspapers.

Six years later, in 1968, juggling wide-angle and zoom lenses and going through dozens of rolls of film, he was one of those photographers in between riot police and student and other protesters in the streets of his adopted Paris. His photo of a well-dressed woman in high heels, pleading to riot police amid exploding tear gas canisters on the Place Mabillon, became one of the enduring images of the uprising. Another showed a girl student sticking a flower in the hat of a wary policeman. He went on to work for two of the major international photo agencies, Black Star and Gamma.

Sent to Munich in 1972 to cover the Olympics, Sipahioglu found himself visually chronicling the Palestinian attack on Israeli athletes and its bloody outcome. His international recognition for those pictures led him to launch Sipa the following year along with his girlfriend, the American journalist Phyllis Springer (whom he would marry almost 30 years later). They started out in a tiny office on the Champs-Elysées.

Göksin Sipahioglu was born in Izmir, Turkey, in 1926. After attending the French Lycée St Joseph in Istanbul he helped found the Kadiköy Sports Club, now best known for the Efes Pilsen basketball team. He later studied journalism at Istanbul University. After making a name for himself in Turkey as a photographer, he received international recognition for his 1956 photos of wounded Egyptian soldiers after Israel invaded the Sinai Peninsula during the Suez crisis.

He sold Sipa in 2001 to France's Sud Communication group, owned by the industrialist Pierre Fabre, although he stayed on as chairman until he retired in 2003. In January 2007, then French president Jacques Chirac appointed him Knight of the Legion of Honour.

"Sipahioglu was the greatest photojournalist ever," the French photojournalist Jean-Francois Leroy told the British Journal of Photography. "He helped so many photographers ... giving them their first assignments. He had a unique position in this industry. He was a giant."

Göksin Sipahioglu, photojournalist and agency founder: born Izmir, Turkey 28 December 1926; married 2002 Phyllis Springer; died Paris 5 October 2011.

Life and Style
LifeReddit asked a simple question with infinite answers this week
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Life and Style
beauty
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice