Martine Franck (1938-2012) was born in Antwerp, spent her childhood in England and the U.S., and studied art history in Madrid and Paris. She started her career as a photographer as an assistant at Life magazine and joined Magnum in 1980. In 1970, she married Henri Cartier-Bresson, one founding member of Magnum Photos. Franck "made portraits of artists and writers, but her main focus was humanitarian reportages". In 1985, her collaboration with the Little Brothers of the Poor began, a "network of non-profit volunteer-based organizations committed to relieving isolation and loneliness among the elderly" (via).
Franck captured "singular visual moments with memorable elegance and wit" (via).
"Throughout her career Martine Franck oscilated between on the one hand photographing some of the world’s most famous artists and on the other, the most anonymous of subjects: those seemingly rendered invisible in society. Franck’s work dwelled upon the marginalised: the poor and the elderly. The latter form a particularly poigniant subsection of her archive, and many of her most touching images of the elderly were collected in the book ‘Le Temps de Vieillir‘ (A Time to Grow Old) – published by Éditions Denoël in Paris, in 1980."
"Martine Franck found exclusion repellent: the exclusion of women, of Tibetans, the elderly, refugees, the inhabitants of Tory Island. She became an activist in support of many of the causes she photographed, demonstrating great courage in a well-brought up young woman who had been taught not to cross boundaries. She explained: ‘The camera is itself a frontier… and to cross on to the other side, you can only get there by momentarily forgetting yourself."
“Taking a portrait of someone – be it man or woman – starts with a conversation. It is important for me to try and catch the person when they are listening or when they are in a pensive mood or have forgotten my presence. I rarely ask a person to pose for me as I prefer that they reveal themselves as they wish. For me the eyes and the hands are most important and when possible I like to use natural light. All through my life as a photographer I have made a point of photographing women whom I admire, who have done something special with their lives, who have protested against their fate, also those close to me, like my daughter and grand-daughter and intimate friends all of whom appear in this collection.”
photographs (Paris, 1972) via and (Paris, 1977) via and (Nanterre, 1978) via and (France, 1980) via and (Worthing) via and (New York, 1979) via and (Paris, 1978) via