by Ferit Düzyol
Paris: Goksin Sipahioglu a la galrie Debelleyme -Mars 2002 © Durand Florence/SIPA
Göksin Sipahioglu evokes for me that imposing presence worthy of deference, not only for his allure, his imposing height – 6ft tall – and his age – 30 years my senior – but also for his human qualities. This great press agency leader was above all a militant journalist at heart, an independent man, revolted by injustices of all kinds, determined and courageous, who inspired me to become who I am and for whose photographic work I have the utmost respect.
Founder of the press agency Sipa Press, of which I have the honor of being on staff, he was, for over 50 years, one of photojournalism’s greatest figures, offering it some of its most beautiful chapters. From the 1973 Arab-Israeli war to Enver Hoxha’s tightly closed Albania, to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Mao’s China, to the independence of Djibouti, the Soviet invasion of Prague, and Dubcek’s May 1968 departure, few world event’s escaped his photojournalistic eye. With his then partner, later his wife, Phyllis Springer, he founded what would become one of the world’s greatest press agencies, Sipa Press, in a tiny one room office at the illustrious address 102, avenue des Champs Elysées.
Forced to remain at the helm of this quickly developing agency, Göksin would finally abandon working in the field, leaving his eyes in the hands of a professional staff of photographers that would bring the agency to international acclaim. A fierce defendant of freedom of the press, Göksin inspired his staff and defended his photographers, pushing them beyond their limits, teaching them to brave barriers and obstacles.