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MARTINE FRANCK
[1938 – 2012] British-Belgian documentary and portrait photographer
I think everything can be painted because painting can change reality; but everything cannot be photographed and the photographer often comes home empty-handed, with images which (often) have a documentary interest, but which rarely go further than that. One has to be completely available, very tenacious and admit that many subjects won't give any results... and a miracle sometimes happens, without warning. - Martine Franck

I was very ill at ease with people in social situations, and I realized that if I photographed I wouldn’t have to chat. - Martine Franck

If I have something to say, I hope it shows in my pictures. I think that everything can be painted because painting can transform reality, but not everything can be photographed, and the photographer often comes home empty-handed with pictures that often have a documentary interest but rarely go beyond that. One has to remain available and extremely tenacious, admit that many subjects produce nothing... and then sometimes, the miracle happens, without warning. - Martine Franck

My grandfather killed himself falling off the dike in Ostend while photographing my two cousins. This can happen so easily when looking through a lens: for a split second nothing else exists outside the frame. - Martine Franck

I feel concerned by what happens in the world.... I don’t want to merely “document;” I want to know why a certain thing disturbs or attracts me and how a situation can affect the person involved. - Martine Franck

What I like so much about photography is precisely the moment that cannot be anticipated; one must be constantly on the alert, ready to acclaim the unexpected. - Martine Franck

A photograph is not necessarily a lie, but it isn’t the truth either. It’s more like a fleeting, subjective impression. - Martine Franck

My advice to photographers is to get out there in the field and take photographs. But also, if they are students, to finish their course, learn as many languages as possible, go to movies, read books, visit museums, broaden your mind. - Martine Franck

The camera is in itself a frontier, a barrier of sorts that one is constantly breaking down so as to get closer to the subject. In doing so, you step over your limits; there is a sense of daring, of going beyond, of being rude, of wanting to be invisible. To cross on to the other side, you can only get there by momentarily forgetting yourself, by being receptive to others; hence, as a photographer, I am in two different worlds at once. That is all I can really say about what I feel when photographing—the rest remains in the domain of the unconscious. Transgression is the word I have been searching for all along. - Martine Franck

Photography came as a substitute. I was painfully shy and found talking to people difficult; a camera in hand gave me a function, a reason to be somewhere, a witness, but not an actor. - Martine Franck

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