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PASSINGS / Gianni Giansanti

Honored photographer

March 20, 2009|TIMES STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

Gianni Giansanti, 52, an award-winning Italian photographer who snapped candid portraits of Pope John Paul II during his pilgrimages, died

Wednesday in Rome after battling bone cancer, his colleagues said.

Giansanti was a 21-year-old freelancer just breaking into photography during the years of Italian domestic terrorism when he shot the 1978 image that for many captured the horror of that era -- the bulletriddled body of Aldo Moro, the kidnapped former Italian Christian Democrat premier, in the trunk of a parked car.

He furnished a black-andwhite photo of the scene to the Associated Press, which transmitted it around the world. His photos of the body helped him get a contract with the Sygma photo agency.

Giansanti's career seemed linked to the life of Polish-born John Paul, who was elected pontiff in 1978.

Giansanti was among the first foreign photographers to scramble into Poland during the imposition of martial law there by the then-Communist regime in the early years of John Paul's papacy.

Giansanti's awards included a World Press Photo first prize in 1988 for reportage on a day in the life of John Paul. Other honored work included reportage on famine in Somalia in 1993.

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