Thursday, May 9, 2013

Genius and the Lens

Jacque-Henri Lartique, 35mm camera, Rome, Myanmar
I love photography and the masters of the medium like Jacque-Henri Lartique (1894-1986), truly one of the greats!
I bought my first 35mm camera when I was 12 and have chronicled my life and family ever since. Henry, the family beagle, was my first subject, obediently sitting with hopes of a treat. Later, my camera and I found ourselves in the middle of a large riot in Rome, and in the middle of a novitiate ceremony for a son of one of the ruling generals of Myanmar in Yangon.  I was drawn to photo journalism and would have pursued that course if fate hadn’t pushed me into a career in decorative fabrics. The image above shows Lartique, the genius behind the lens.

New York Museum of Modern Art, photography, Avenue du Bois de Boulogne, Paris
Lartique took thousands of pictures in what could be called a “family album.” He was considered an amateur until New York’s Museum of Modern Art “discovered” his talents and held a retrospective of his works in 1963 when Lartique was 69. From that moment on he was considered the “father of modern photography.” He snapped this shot of a woman on the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne in Paris when he was 17.

Lartique, Deauville
Sunday walkers in Deauville 1914.

Jacque-Henri Lartique, stairs
He loved unusual action shots like this woman jumping from the stairs.

early 20th century, France, car racing, aviation
In the early 20th century France was crazy about car racing, aviation and sports. Lartique really captured speed in this photograph.

trio, elements, car, adventure
A trio dressed for adventure and the elements in the back of a car.

early 1920, French, South of France, Eden Roc, Cap d' Antibes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway
In the early 20’s French high society and the creative set began summering in the South of France.  This is Lartique’s first wife Bibi, having lunch at Eden Roc at Cap d’Antibes, a favorite haunt of the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Picasso.  I remember seeing more bodyguards than customers the last time we had lunch at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc.

Bibi, Cannes, 1927
Wonderful snapshot of Bibi on the rocks in Cannes in 1927.

unbrella, sand, reflection
Magical reflection on the sand.

London, 1926, double decker bus
London 1926.  An almost dreamlike photograph on a double-decker bus.

Romanian, model, Renee Perle, muse
Romanian model, Renee Perle, was Lartique’s muse in the 1930’s.

Lartique, painting, 1930
After the Lartique fortune dwindled in the 1930’s Jacque-Henri pursued his love of painting to make money. This is Renee Perle in 1930.

women, fashion photography, MOMA exhibit
Women and fashion photography were a favorite. It really wasn’t until after the MOMA exhibit that editors called him to do fashion work.

man with hat, jetty, storm
The man with a hat on the jetty is one of my very favorites!

Lartique photo, woman and dog, legacy photography
When Lartique died in 1986 at the age of 92 he left a legacy of 100,000 photographs, 7000 pages in his diary and 1500 paintings.

***For more information about this amazingly creative genius click on the YouTube video:

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