"When I think back to my childhood, I recall not only my father’s tales
of travel and his great curiosity about the world, but also my first
pictures—of the Loire chateaux—which, to my great pride, were stuck in
the family photo album. I also remember the keyhole in the door of my
mother’s bedroom, through which I hoped to glimpse the birth of my
little sister Sylvie.
Quiet and shy, I preferred to listen and to look. If I wanted to
attract the attention of my elders, I’d show them the oops of my
electric train or the unlikely architecture of my tree-houses. But at
some point I had to grow up, show them something else. So I put a
camera around my neck, cut my moorings, and headed for the horizon.
Thus for seventy years now I’ve basically been having fun. Even today
I’m always on the look-out for surprise, for an amusing or telling
shot. While I’d like to go back to Bengal to see the elephants bathing,
I still enjoy photographing the wild grasses in my back yard as they
trace lines and rhythms in front of my lens—it’s a visual surprise, a
fleeting joy. Beauty is everywhere, as is strangeness, which even came
my way in Shanghai last year in the form of a small plastic bag left in
The Garden of the Mandarin Yu: with its knot forming ears, it looked
like a little lost rabbit.
Solitary wanderings and long waits—eyes always peeled. As evening
approaches and fatigue sets in, I wonder what meaning should be given
to all those faces, those landscapes, those street scenes, those
encounters. Doubt always hover nearby, but I take photographs the way a
musician hums. Looking is like breathing. So when luck comes my way and
offers me a good picture, joy is surely nigh."