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Best of July 2020 : In Memoriam : Alain Desvergnes (1931-2020)


A very sad email received yesterday from Francois Hebel.

Dear Jean-Jacques,

I learn of the disappearance on Sunday of Alain Desvergnes (88 years old), photographer, former director of the Rencontres d’Arles, founder and first director of the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie (the smallest and the first completed of the Major projects of François Mitterrand).

It’s a great emotion that overwhelms me in this year of cancellation of the Meetings. I know how much he had participated in giving them a foundation and how his presence and that of Marie-Annick Lenoir, his wife and administrator, by his side were determining for the creation and the development of the school, with initiatives unequaled since.

The distance does not erase the memory of those years when each day brought a joust to be able to give a structure to one or the other entity, against preconceptions or outbursts. The fundamental choices he made with some friends including Maryse Cordesse, essential godmother, and Lucien Clergue who had brought him from Canada, all bear fruit today when we see what has become of photography and how many school alumni enliven their intelligence. Photographers, visitors, curators, managers of cultural structures, we are indebted to him.

François Hébel

Director Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation

Visitor of Les Rencontres of the “Desvergnes years” before having the honor and the pleasure of succeeding him as well as Lucien Clergue.





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