Arles 2012: Seen by Lucien Clergue
Lucien Clergue © Wilfrid Estève
Forty-three years. I try to think through these two numbers. After all, its reverse, 34, which is the year I was born, and I see photographers in town who are the same age or older. Of the entire Magnum gang, I only know a few and they all have white hair. My relationship with Magnum has always been complicated. The worst was when Cartier-Bresson refused to be the guest of honor for the 10th anniversary. He finally came—”I”ll dress up like a priest,” he told me—and what a triumph it was. The theatre was packed! I remember the good times, like with Picasso in Nîmes. We were a table of thirteen and we had to find a fourteenth person because Picasso was superstitious! And I remember painful times, like when I asked Martin Parr to sponsor me for Magnum. They were planning to represent non-members and publish some of my work. Martin looked at me with his bewildered bird eyes and said, “Oh Lucien, you’re too old.” And it’s Elliott Erwitch who triumphs at the theatre at one o’clock i n the morning after an enchanting screening met with a standing ovation from 2000 fans. At eighty-five years old, the youngest of them all.
Read the full text of this article by Lucien Clergue on the French version of Le Journal.