Veteran French photographer, photojournalist, and documentary filmmaker Raymond Depardon used three cameras to shoot the official portrait of new French President François Hollande. The portrait that was selected was shot with Raymond's vintage 1962 Rolleiflex, which he's seen using here.
(Thanks to Chris Lucianu)
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Edward Taylor: "I like the photo just fine, but there seems to be nothing extraordinary about it. Is's just a photo. The previous portraits of previous presidents are not anything special either. I don't think the intent is to make a work of art. These are documentary portraits with the purpose of looking dignified, well dressed, respectable, patriotic, etc.
"The real danger here is having a 'green screen' look. This portrait does look green screened because of the lighting difference between the subject and the background. Diffusers and reflectors, as well as flashes or artificial lighting can create a disconnect between the subject and the background that makes the viewer wonder if the subject was really there at all.
"I'm not sure Karsh would be happy with these results."
Featured Comment by Bill Bresler: "You've all missed the real significance of these photos. The last photo I saw of Depardon was probably made in the late 1970s. He looked like a skinny, depressed little French guy. Now he looks like me!"
Featured Comment by ankylosaurus: "Nobody cares how hard you tried and what equipment you used—well in this particular case this isn't true....
"I happen to live in France and the media here never omits the fact that the image is taken by a 50 year old camera.
"For journalists it certainly adds some flair and a 'touche artistique,' Vous vous rendez compte...un Rollei de 1962. Mon dieu.
"Depardon explained that he only had the time to take 12 images with the Rollei before the president vaporized...his assistant didn't have time to load another roll. So he had to make do with what he had.
"To me the president looks rather uncomfortable and tensed. It's like somebody just shouted:
"—Hey Fraçois, You have a wasp under your collar. Whatever you do, don't move because he sure do look angry....
"But I guess that the vintage camera more than compensates for the wasp look...."
Mike replies: That's interesting that Raymond only got one roll in, because that was exactly my reading of the picture when I first saw it—that the subject didn't have sufficient opportunity to relax and the photographer didn't have enough time to shoot as much as he needed.
I used to demand of my subjects that they not only give me an hour of their time at a minimum, but that they not schedule anything else for at least two hours after our session ended—and preferably nothing else for the remainder of the day. My feeling was that the pressure of "I've got somewhere to go" would show up in the picture otherwise.
Of course one does not have the luxury to make such demands with the President of France!