Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 5 No. 3 | Fall 1983 (Seattle) /// Issue 5 of 24 /// Master# 53 of 73

control and smashed into a concrete railing, then flipped and overturned into a ditch. My first reflex was to duck away from the noise, but the moment that we heard the first sound, Page flew into action. He automatically put the camera to his eye and started walking towards the careening auto, focusing the lens and snapping pictures as he went. Page shuffled across Fulton as car brakes screeched and horns blared; he was oblivious to the traffic and could easily have been run over. He made it to the upturned auto and awkwardly bent down to peer in through the window and get a couple of good close-ups of the unconscious driver. “I don’t think he’s dead,” Page said, standing up. “Good wreck, though.” I moved away from the Bay Area not long after that, and I haven’t seen Tim Page for years. I’ve followed his adventures, though. It was a treat to pick up a copy of Dispatches, Michael Herr’s inspired memoir of press corps experiences in Southeast Asia, and discover that Herr had devoted a good- sized portion of the book to Tim Page. Herr also wrote the screenplay for Apocalypse Now, and based the character of the deranged photographer played by Dennis Hopper in the film on Page’s legend. Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now's producer-director, used Page as a technical advisor on the film. “You aren’t making it realistic enough,” Page told Coppola. “You need more death, more blood, more corpses.” When the Oscars were handed out for Apocalypse Now, Page was credited for his help. Clancy sued Time-Life on Page’s behalf, and the case slouched through the California courts for years. Time- Life retained one of the most prestigious law firms in California to fight the lawsuit, while Clancy and his associate Mark Libarle engineered their side of the case on a shoestring. In 1981 Page was awarded $125,000. I’m sure he’s spent it all by now. Now Tim Page has published a book. It’s titled Tim Page’s NAM, and it contains 93 of Page’s photographs of the Southeast Asian conflict, with an introduction by William Shawcross and a heavily ghost-written narrative. This is probably the definitive photo- journalistic work on the war that ravaged Indo-China and drained America’s spirit. It’s all there: stunned Marines hurtling through the air at the moment of their deaths; corn-fed Air Cavalry kids trudging into the Chu Phong jungle’s grisly maw; ghastly white lime-covered cadavers rotting beneath the Agent Orange sun. Tim Page is much more than a foolhardy photographer who chose the stench of war as his muse. I have come to believe that Page is a great artist whose work is destined to haunt the rotogravures of history, and that his impressions of the war are the last word on the horror show that was Viet Nam. Page’s photos hang in art museums now, and the BBC does documentaries of his exploits. Lately, Page has become a foreign correspondent for a British news agency. The last I heard of him was an incomprehensible postcard from Sri Lanka. That makes perfect sense; there’s a vicious new war heating up in Sri Lanka, and Page never could quit while he was ahead. Still, when I think of Tim Page I like to imagine him peacefully snoozing away, sprawled out in an endless floral graveyard of soulful sweet peas in a deserted Cambodian necropolis, while the Buddha of regeneration guards him from the ravages of the nearby war. It might have been the safest place in Cambodia, but Page had to go through hell to get there. ■ Ike Horn is a Seattle writer and bon vivant. Some things at the Co-op are differentfrom other stores. Like our attitude — about food. And about people. At the Co-op, we help ourselves. We all have a voice in how the stores are run. And what's on the shelves. We’re notjust shoppers. We re members. 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