Alice Springs and Jacques Henri Lartigue, two of the most high-profile figures of 20th-century photography, have a couple of things in common. The obvious one is that they are both the subjects of retrospective exhibitions currently at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. The less obvious is that both became photographers by chance.
J.H. Lartigue (1894-1986) got his first camera aged seven, and took pictures of friends, family, and sporting events all his life. But he made a living – quite a successful one – as a painter. It wasn’t until he was 69 years old that his early photographs were seen by Charles Rado of the Rapho agency, and John Szarkowski of the Museum of Modern Art. Szarkowski arranged an exhibition of his work, Life magazine published the images in 1963, and Lartigue’s photography career took off.
(The portrait of Lartigue below is by Alice Springs, shot…
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