In 1977, after completing my military service at the ECPA (Ivry sur Seine: army film and photo service), I met Jean Dieuzaide with my portfolio under my arm and ended up with the immense privilege of being his assistant for a few months.
Jean Dieuzaide often talked to me about the Rencontres d’Arles. I listened to him as if he were God.
It was with him that I learned to take aerial photos from a helicopter with a 4×5 camera, to take photos of the “palm trees” at the Jacobins convent, to let a mop rot in a bucket of dirty water, only to photograph it a month later… to make black and white lab prints on barite paper, and to make it his fight to save it! I remember that fight, and how he used to bait me into being one of his spokesmen. His official shooter was Théo, who spent 3/4 of his time (or even more) in the development and printing labs.
I had the opportunity to return to his home-labo-studio, 7 rue Erasme, last year (early September 2022). What a thrill to re-enter 46 years later….His son Michel manages his gigantic photo estate! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJmSEspOEBc&t=460s
Attached are my photos of Jean at the opening of an exhibition by Jean Claude Gautrand (co-founder of Rencontres d’Arles). I had the honor of helping organize the exhibition at the Château d’Eau in Toulouse.
Jean Dieuzaide had a “certain” character. At 23, I was no match for him.
But he taught me so much !!!! Shooting, laboratory, development, prestige prints, etc.
When I went back to Paris, I went straight to the Duffort lab on rue Duroc in the 15th arrondissement, and there… after testing me in the lab, Mr. Duffort asked me how much I wanted to earn! I said 2 times the minimum wage. He said yes. Incredible, but it was a particularly good time to be starting out in photography.
I’ve never been hired like that again in my entire career as a photographer!
Even today, my CV as a professional photographer starts with Jean Dieuzaide.
Even though I’m a recent retiree from the profession, I never forget what the word Lumière means. In digital photography, I think we’ve forgotten a little.
In September 2024, during Heritage Days in Guitres (33230), I’m going to organize a photographic festival dedicated exclusively to silver photography.