Souvenirs de: Jean-François Leroy
© Patrick Manez, 1987
It was 1975. I wasn't yet 20... I saw in the Arles programme that Eugene Smith would be a guest of honour. Smith is one of my favourite photographers. So I went for it! A train ticket and a no-star hotel. I found myself on Place du Forum, where, of course, I knew no one... Suddenly I saw Smith, walking quietly across the square with Bernard Perrine.
I was petrified, not knowing what to do. Go up to him and tell him how much I admired him? I didn't dare... Ask for his autograph? Ridiculous! What, then? Nothing... I watched him pass by, dumbstruck, and hated myself for being so silly.
The years have since gone by. I'm now very close to Bernard Perrine, I worked with him for many years.
I never had another chance to meet Smith. It was one my most beautiful Arles encounters, and I flunked it.