Tribute to Martine Franck: Hélène Veret
I first met Martine in 1965. I was working then as an assistant to Hugh Moffett, the editor-in-chief of Life magazine, in Paris. I remember the day when a charming and distinguished young woman made an appointment with me to see if it would be possible for her to help out the two technicians who ran our photo lab. She wanted to know all the secrets of the darkroom so she could one day become a photojournalist.
I brought the matter up with Yugh Mossett. He agreed to meet Martine, and was impressed by the young woman’s enthusiasm and the tenacity you could read in her eyes. In the end, he granted her request.
Soon she was helping out photographers passing through Paris like Eliot Elisofon and Gjon Mili. They all praised her initiative and passion for photography.
In December 1965, we went together to the opening of a children’s library in Clamart. The project had been funded by the Schlumberger family. Martine asked the architects (Pierre Riboulet, Jean-Louis Veret and Gérard Thurnauer) if she could take a few photos of their work (classified as a historic monument in September 2009) and they agreed, provided that children appear in the pictures.
When I saw the results, I was so impressed by the quality of the black-and-white photos that I showed them to Yugh Mossett, who immediately decided to send the pictures to New York. To our great joy, the report made the front page of the Life International end-of-the-year issue. That was the beginning of a brilliant career, and of our long and loyal friendship.