Hugues Vassal, photographer of the stars, photographer of the world, died in Tours he was 89 years old.
Official photographer of Edith Piaf, journalist, reporter, writer, co-founder of the Gamma agency, Hugues Vassal died on April 24, 2023.
Hugues Vassal was born on June 17, 1933 in Boulogne-Billancourt. He discovered photography as an assistant to fashion and press photographer Philippe Constantin, a senior reporter for the Paris Presse newspaper, specializing in “talking photography”. This meeting will influence his future work with images that speak for themselves and are readable by all.
Edith Piaf’s official photographer
As a young reporter for France Dimanche, he was entrusted with a reportage on Edith Piaf, incredibly famous at the time. Charmed, the difficult artist integrated the young man into her intimate circle, Hugues Vassal thus obtains almost exclusive images of the singer but also of her in her private life.
Hugues Vassal has also continued in recent years to animate exhibitions and conferences on Piaf, to which he has devoted several books.
When the Mome disappeared, he multiplied the shots of the stars of the 60s for France Dimanche: Mireille Mathieu, Aznavour, Johnny, Sylvie, Sheila, Claude François, Françoise Hardy, Dalida, Brel, Brassens but also stars from the sky of Hollywood like Gary Cooper, Sinatra, Yul Brynner and of course the star of the day, Bardot.
Co-founder of the Gamma agency
In 1966, he imagined a new kind of photography agency, run by photographers. In 1967, he co-founded, notably with Gilles Caron and Raymond Depardon, the Gamma photo agency.
With Gamma, he traveled across the planet. In South Africa, he took a shot that became symbolic of Apartheid, white men and black men separated by a simple rope in the stands of a stadium. The image, one of the most beautiful of his career in the photographer’s own words, was published all over the world.
He was a photographer at the court of the Shah of Iran before the fall of the regime and he was also one of the first to obtain a visa for the People’s Republic of China in 1971.
He was director of the Gamma agency from 1974 to 1975.
Hugues Vassal died in Tours on April 24, 2023. He was 89 years old.