Great men are bound to do great things. And, the greatest ones of these, are humble and modest about their accomplishments. Chilean Photographer Leopoldo Víctor Vargas, was one of these men.
Ten years ago, on the afternoon of Saturday 26th, 2011, Presidential Photographer and Chilean Air Force NCO (R) Leopoldo Víctor Vargas past away in Santiago de Chile, at age 78.
As Presidential Photographer (1964-1973), at the Chilean seat of government La Moneda Palace, he is the real author of the World Press Photo of the Year 1973, the Presidential Official Portrait of late President Salvador Allende (1970), and at the Diego Portales building, he shot the first official portrait of each one of the four members of the Military Junta (1973)- Army Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Admiral José Toribio Merino, Aviation Gen. Gustavo Leigh, and Carabineros Gen. César Mendoza.
One of his pictures is among the “100 most influential images of all time“, the “photos that changed the world“, and is also considered “a universal icon of photography“.
But above of all of his life achievements, he was a God fearing man, a dear husband, father, and grandfather. Today we commemorate his death (3/26/2021).
His widow, and family members, with deep love and respect, look forward to see him again in the fast approaching day of resurrection.
(July 9, 1933- March 26, 2011)
Leo Vargas was born on July 9 1933 in Putaendo, San Felipe, Chile. He was the love child and the only son of Susana Vargas Berrios.
He married Ms. Erika Caroca Atenas, on May 5, 1956, in Santiago de Chile.
Leopoldo Victor Vargas died after a long struggle with diabetes and all its complications in Santiago’s Hospital de la Fuerza Aérea de Chile on the afternoon of Saturday March 26 2011. He is survived by his wife, and by four children and six grandchildren.
Mr. Vargas was a Non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the Chilean Air Force, Aerial Photographer, Photojournalist, Presidential Photographer (1964-1973) and is the author of the award-winning picture of the World Press Photo of the Year 1973, and of the Official Portrait of Chilean President Salvador Allende Gossens and the first Official Portrait of each of the members of the Military Junta right after the Coup in 1973- Army General Augusto Pinochet, Aviation General Gustavo Leigh, Admiral José Merino, and Carabineros’ General César Mendoza Durán.
La Moneda Palace is being bombarded during the coup d’état at noon on September 11th 1973.
La Moneda Palace, Santiago de Chile, September 11th, 1973.
Photo: Leopoldo Víctor Vargas.
Commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army
Chilean President Salvador Allende stayed in his home, at Tomás Moro Street, until around 11:30 am, leaving in that hour heading to La Moneda Palace the day of the failed putsch, on june 29th, 1973.
Notice here that late Chilean President Salvador Allende is wearing O’Higgins Pioche a simbol of his character as Generalissimo of the Chilean Armed Forces. Also he is wearing a 6 button double breasted suit, white shirt and tie. An attire completely different from the one he wore the fateful day of the Coup in September 11th, 1973.
Photo: (Possibly) Luis Poirot.