My first memories of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles date back to 1976, the 7th edition. I was 13 and already working in the administrative offices with Evelyne Arlaud, Françoise Riss and Marijo Justamond. Then I began working in the press offices with Catherine Philippot at the Nord Pinus Hotel. I met all the photographers, they were so nice to me, the craziest was Jan Saudek. The nicest was Guy le Querrec during the July 14th celebration, we danced together and I knocked over his Leica, I was terrified, but he kept smiling, the Leica is unbreakable, he had seen worse! I saw Peter Beard, climbing Montmajour, it was magical. I met the Discovery pilot Brewster Shaw who was invited to present NASA pictures. I posed for Franco Fontana, Jean-François Bauret, Ralph Gibson, Helmut Newton. I was on stage at the Théatre Antique for the New York fashion designer Sao, when a riot broke out! The screen was ripped by a torch thrown by a photographer, furious at the idea that he had to watch a fashion show at the RIP.
At the time, there was loud boos daily! The city was transformed into an ant farm for camera-clad photographers taking pictures everywhere, nonstop! The fringe festival was going strong at the Place du Forum.
La Ferrade of the Cabane Rouge led us into diabolical dances with Maja Hoffmann, Laura Morton and Alexia, Jeff Dunas’ daughter, a regular at Arles. Then we would go swimming at the Salins beach, it was a ritual we never missed, Koudelka’s favorite.
My most beautiful evening, Mapplethorpe and Joyce Tenneson at the Théâtre Antique in 82.
In 1988, Hans Namuth presented his movie about Pollock, I met Leo Castelli and left to work in his New York gallery.
The statue of my father dressed as an Académicien in the Place du Forum, next to Mistral, was François Hébel’s surprise for the 40th anniversary of the Rencontres.
Today, it is the 42nd anniversary of the Rencontres d’Arles, and the 10th anniversary of François.
Archives of the Eye of Photography – Anne Clergue, 2011