Farewell Göksin by: MP
Michel Chicheportiche, Luc Delahaye, Michel Guerrin
Mete Zinhioglu, directeur Sipa
Tony Comiti, journaliste
Olivier Jobard, photographe
Patrick Chauvel, photographe
Marc Riboud, photographe
Goshkun Aral, photographe
Luc Delahaye, photographe
Alfred Yaghodzabeh, photographe
Xavier Martin, photographe
Jacques Torregano, photographe
Thierry Esch, photographe
Magdalena Herrera, GEO
Francis Apesteguy versus Pascal Rostaing, photographes
Bruno Barbey, photographe
Sophie Hedtmann, LaLettre
François Siegel, producteur
Michel Guerrin, journaliste
Pierre Suu, photographe
François Hebel, directeur Rencontres d'Arles
Cyrille Drouet, Le Figaro Magazine
Richard Kalvar, photographe
Frederique Deschamps, journaliste
Mikaëla Zeiss, Ushuaïa
Ayperi Karabuda, Reuters
Georges de Keerle, Getty Images
Jean-Loup Bersuder, photographe
Pierre Villard, photographe
Marc Simon, VSD
Michel Ginies, photographe
Jean-Claude Francolon, photographe
Hubert Henrotte, Sygma
Nadine Camel-Toueg, journaliste
Dominique Issermann, photographe
Michel Puech, LaLettre
Capucine Granier Deferre, photographe
Jacques Langevin, photographe
Ewa Rudling, photographe
Olivier Laban Mattei, photographe
Daniel Barroy, Ministère de la culture
Françoise Riss, journaliste
Alain Keler, photographe
Michel Setboun, photographe
Les "filles" de Sipa
Homage to a photography seigneur
For three hours in Paris on this Thursday morning, October 13, the French press offices and the Parisian offices of international press companies were empty of their staff who had come to the Théâtre de l’Odéon to pay one final homage to Göksin Sipahioglu.
Countless photographers who had traveled the globe over the past 30 years filled the theater’s 700 seats to capacity. In addition to the photographers, salesmen, picture editors and all of the indispensable “little hands” of the information chain hugged and wept discretely. Many were left standing in the aisles.
“Mister Sipa”’s Turkish family surrounded Phyllis Springer, his wife and companion since they fell in love at first sight during, of course, a photography exhibit in Paris just 44 years ago. It was thanks to the help of former Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, alongside Olivier Py and Paul Rondin, that Jean-François Leroy, director of Visa pour l’Image, and Mete Zihnioglu, associate director of Sipa press, were able to hold this ceremony in the theater where in May, 1968, reporter Sipahioglu took some of his most precious pictures that have since become the object of a book and exhibition that has traveled the globe.
For one hour and a half, the two great friends of the deceased welcomed friends expressing their sympathy, several texts are published in this or Monday’s edition of La Lettre. Jean François Leroy opened the ceremony by reading a short comment by current Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand (currently traveling with the French President), then one by one, testimonials provided witness to the many exceptional periods of Göksin Sipahioglu’s incredible career.
The many chapters of the life of this “Great Turk”, from his childhood to his youth as a basketball star, to his scoops in Cuba, Albania, and China, up through the incredible success of the agency that bore his name were evoked through speeches, videos, and naturally dozens of pictures, some simply excerpted from private family albums.
Emotions in the theater were intense, palpable, and communicative. It was not one of sad nostalgia, on the contrary, the room seemed to be hanging on to a hot air balloon of energy, enthusiasm, and strong will: the spirit of Göksin Sipahioglu.
“When you felt the strength and energy that emanated from this room, you couldn’t help but wonder how and why photojournalism is in the state it’s in today” commented Jean-François Leroy a few hours after the ceremony alongside Mete Zihnioglu. Also present in the theater was Heinrich Ollenkiek, the new director of Sipa Press named by the German agency DAPD who recently acquired Sipa.
“How can we be in such shit?” questioned Jean-François Leroy, very moved. “I was 20 when I went to see Göksin. He gave me ten rolls of TriX film and 500 francs… That was the day I became a journalist. I lost my father when I was 25, then Roger Therond, now him…”
Many people shared affectionate memories and wondered: who would give a photographer a chance today? As many gray hairs distanced themselves from the ceremony, it was also the end of an era, one they had witnessed.
The Prince of the 1001 nights of photojournalism left us and left behind countless orphans.