He seemed easy going, with his round glasses and his smart mind, always on the lookout for novelties, what could enchant or disturb him, and make him decide to make a book of it. With him, projects were not lacking. Recently, for example, he had accompanied photographer Alain Willaume in a striking monograph, Coordinates 72/18. The latter was, understandably, absolutely delighted to work with a man with so just an eye and so gifted for things, who knew how to give substance to a book and did more than a book, a real art object with dazzling prints and carefully chosen papers. Xavier Barral had an edifying know-how that led him to become a reference in the world of publishing, an essential aster in the panoply of books dedicated to photography. To give just a few examples, he had recently published the magnificent work of Matthias Bruggmann on the war in Syria and that, no less interesting, of Mathieu Pernot on the prison de la Santé in Paris. He was engaged on all these subjects, and looked at you with an anxious and worried look when he spoke to you about it, anxious to be understood, especially in defending the work. A myriad of beautiful books will also be remembered , such as the one he recently devoted to the Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase or the catalog of the exhibition “Images to load” in the BAL, fascinating reflection on the proof by the image and its striking force, or the sublime book dedicated to the work of Pastor Martin Gusinde in Tierra del Fuego that Xavier Barral rediscovered in Chile before finding the trace of negatives in Germany. The publisher was not only content to create sumptuous books, he also had the eyes of a critic and exhibition curator, a role he played several times and recently at the Fondation Cartier for an exhibition devoted to photography and automobile, or, even more recently, for an exhibition of the photographs of his friend Patrick Gries who set the skeletons of an immense palette of animals in elegant black-and-white photographs, a subject that fascinated Xavier Barral. With his brutal disappearance, the world of photography loses a beautiful, sensitive, curious and complicit eye, an eye that knew how to choose carefully and to show as it should be, an eye of photographer and esthete, an eye that will be missed.