The Magic Sphere I

From the earliest possible age Lartigue kept a little diary. At the top of each page there was always a little drawing of the sun or a cloud… and some initials: T.B., B., T.T.B. They stood for Trés beau. Beau. Trés trés beau… That was the weather. It was always a good day. It almost never rained. Ever… And then there would be a quick description of what he did that day. Who visited the house. Where they went… And half the page devoted to drawings of what he’d photographed, because developing was a very risky process and often the pictures didn’t come out. So, afraid that he might never see the pictures that he’d taken, he would draw from memory what he’d photographed. And in the diaries, which went on for many years, you can see the photographs that have since become masterpieces… drawn. And the miracle of these little drawings is that he had captured exactly the way a scarf had been caught by the wind the moment he clicked the shutter. And they’re accurate. Absolutely accurate. Which means a perfect memory… and a complete sense of what he wanted. And this obsessiveness went on every year of his life. The files. The scrapbooks. They’re all over the apartment. The perfection of those files. In a second, he can find any glass negative… 1911 – neatly kept in perfect condition.

Richard Avedon about Jacques-Henri Lartigue

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