It’s one of the most powerful photographic books published in recent years, says JANE SLADE

Today – International Women’s Day – I am shining a light on a man.

Tom Stoddart

He is Tom Stoddart, whose recently-published book Extraordinary Women: Images of Courage, Endurance and Defiance encapsulates everything that today should mean.

His book is a celebration of the extraordinary women he has photographed over his 50-year career as an award-winning photographer.

Yet Tom’s photographs are not of women posed in studios oozing glitz and glamour. The women captured in his lens are victims of war, poverty and hardship.

Every black and white image reflects not a fragile, vulnerable species but a strong, brave and loving one demonstrating the kind of compassion, bravery and sacrifice that is not often photographed.

I first met Tom, who is originally from the North East, about 35 years ago, when he was a war photographer based in London.

His images were always honest, often heart-breaking and sometimes shocking.

He never shied from the truth or capturing the pain of truth.

And that has always remained his hallmark.

Extraordinary Women is a treasury of humankind at its most raw. It is also book you want to share.

I bought several copies and have given them to both my male and female friends.

Sean Bobbitt, a former war photographer and now award-winning cinematographer said after receiving my present, “Please pass on my thanks and regards to Tom. His remarkable eye and compassion are inspiring and thought provoking. I could not have asked for a better gift.”

And Lucy Daley, 34, Deputy Picture Editor at The Times Magazine, was deeply moved.  “A powerful and striking book by one of the most iconic British photographers of our time,” she wrote to me.

“Tom encapsulates the often-overlooked courageous and determined female spirit in crisis. A must-buy for lovers of great photography.”

Thank you Tom for touching our hearts with this wonderful legacy.

Happy International Women’s Day.

For a signed copy of Tom Stoddard’s book Extraordinary Women published by ACC Art Books please email tom@tomstoddart.com

An exhibition featuring photographs from Tom’s book will be on view at the Side Gallery in Newcastle.

For more information please visit www.amber-online.com