[Photographer, b. 1912, Gentilly, Val-de-Marne, France, d. 1994, Montrouge, France.]
The photographer must be absorbent—like a blotter, allow himself to be permeated by the poetic moment... His technique should be like an animal function... he should act automatically.
A memory from my youth comes back to me. You go into the woods on a bike, with a girl. There is the smell of heather, you can hear the wind in the fir trees, you don't dare tell her about your love, but you feel happy, as if you were floating above the ground. Then you look at the clouds beyond the trees and they are fleeting. And you know that within an hour you’ll have to go home, that tomorrow will be a working day. You wish you could stop that moment forever, but you can’t, it is bound to end. So you take a photo, as if to challenge time.
If you take photos, don’t speak, don’t write, don’t analyze yourself, and don’t answer any questions.
You know, they always say that the photographer is “a hunter of images.” That is a flattering image, the idea of a hunter, it’s virile, acquired power. Actually though, it isn’t that. We are really fishermen with hooks and lines.
I prefer my hesitations, my false paths, my stammering, to a preconceived idea.
A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there—even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity.
For a photographer, the first 70 years are a bit difficult, but after that things get better.
The best photos, the ones that are remembered, are the ones that have first passed through the person’s mind before being restored by the camera.