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The Instagram Chronicle of Jean-Marie Périer


Alain Delon in Saint Tropez in August 1966.

He was kind enough to agree to pose for me, although it was not his favorite exercise. With him, the secret was to go very fast.

But with his physique, it was not difficult. (He was one of the few people you could photograph from three-quarters back without making him look ugly. Try it, you’ll see, I did it, my face looks like a gargoyle.) But we had to act quickly because he gave the impression of impatiently hoping for the end of this boring interlude. Rarely passionate about the present moment, he preferred the next project to come, the next move, the impossible hope, in a hurry to finish before he started. It’s amazing how the newspapers misunderstood Alain, often mixing his roles in the cinema with his personal life. Contrary to what many thought, he was not a thug who dreamed of being a prince, rather he was a prince who understood thugs.
When the house of Dior decided to use this photo for “Eau sauvage”, it was Alain who chose it among a thousand others, and I will always be grateful to him. And they had the good idea to pass it in black and white. If a majority of my photos are in color it is because they were intended for an audience of young people. They adorned the walls of teenagers who, living all over France, could not “go up” to Paris. They dreamed of a show to decorate their rooms, I was not going to inflict black and white on them. I always thought that color photography was more difficult, more risky, it takes a lot of luck to keep it from going out of style. The black and white is immediately more classic.

A tip: if you want to quickly pass for a “great photographer”, go black and white, each and every time you will be highly regarded by the very best..

Jean-Marie Périer

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