Sunday, September 2, 2012

Martine Franck: 2 April, 1938 - 16 August, 2012

I'm sorry to've missed posting this in mid-August.
Belgian documentary and portrait photographer Martine Franck passed away August 16th at the age of 74.

Ms. Franck received a degree in art history from the École du Louvre in Paris - studies, she said later, that convinced her she did not want an academic career. She was a busy freelance photographer in Paris in 1966, on assignment for magazines like Vogue, Life and Sports Illustrated, and the official photographer for the Théâtre du Soleil where she met her future husband, 30 years her senior. In 1980 Franck was one of a very small number of women to be accepted into the Magnum cooperative photo agency. In 1983, she completed a project for the now-defunct French Ministry of Women's Rights and in 1985 began collaborating with the non-profit International Federation of Little Brothers of the Poor. In 1993 she first traveled to the Irish island of Tory where she documented a tiny Gaelic community there. WIth the help of Marilyn Silverstone she also documented the Education system of the Tulkus Monks in Tibet and Nepal. In 2003 and 2004 she returned to Paris to document the work of theater director Robert Wilson. Ms. Franck was an exemplar of a school of postwar photography that aimed to capture the real world. Her style was to work outside the studio, to use a 35-millimeter Leica camera, and she preferred black-and-white film. She was drawn to fragile population.

A shy, elegant woman, she told The Daily Telegraph she had been attracted to taking pictures because she “...realized that photography was an ideal way of telling people what is going on without having to talk”. Ms. Franck was co-founder of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation which has her husband's namesake. Her choice to maintain the Foundation as well as raise their daughter Mélanie involved the acceptance of limitations on her own photographic career, and she was determined to manage well the preservation of a separate professional identity from her husband's. Here she is in 2010 speaking about her book Women Femmes.

Bucarest, Romania. Two workers in a machine tool factory.  
6th arrondissement, Paris, France. US tapestry-maker Sheila Hicks in her studio.

Paris, France. Clandestine immigrant woman with her son in Eglise St-Bernard, 1996.

Moscow, Russia. Russian actress Maria GOLUBKINA, step-daughter of the renowned Russian actor Andrei MIRONOV. March 2000.

Candle seller

France. Mme J. Q.

Kai Tak East, Hong-Kong, Refugee Camp organised by caritas, 4 generations of women.
County of Maramures, region of Transylvania. The church of Harnicesti on Palm Sunday.

France. Martine Franck, photographed by her husband. 1972

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