Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The “Girl with flower” Marc Riboud: the story of an iconic photo – The Obs

The whole world knows this scene. In 1967, during a demonstration in Washington against the US intervention in Vietnam, a young protester approached soldiers with bayonet rifles. His weapon is a flower – a harmless weapon, which will nevertheless be charged to a global power through the shot taken by Marc Riboud. This huge figure of photography has died Aug. 30, 2016, at the age of 93, after a life of travel and images. Back, as a tribute, the history of this cult cliché of “Flower Power”.

(Marc Riboud)

The flower (s) gun (s)

on 21 October 1967, a human tide forms in the US capital. With a message: no to war! For years, America sends its young citizens fight in Vietnam, theater remote confrontation between the US and the USSR. And this, peace will not. Hippies in mind. To challenge President Lyndon Johnson, are 100,000 to gather around the Lincoln Memorial Basin and 50,000 to march on the Pentagon.

Among them, a teenager, Jan Rose Kasmir. From its 17 years, she joined the noisy crowd of protesters and scrolls with her floral dress.

“I do not remember how I heard about the event at the Pentagon but I knew it was something that I had to participate. I had to denounce this horrible war “, confided she much later.

Arriving near their destination, protesters abut against a line of soldiers of the National Guard. Jan Rose Kasmir, who borrowed a chrysanthemum to someone approaching soldiers. A few centimeters of bayonet blades, she brandished the flower defiance – a common gesture among followers of the “Flower Power”, who advocate nonviolence

“None of them n. has caught my eye. I was like facing a wall. But the photographer told me later that they were trembling. I think they were frightened at the idea of ​​receiving the order to shoot at us. (…) If you look at my face, I am extremely sad: I had just realize how these boys were young “

This silent confrontation is not doomed to be forgotten. . A few meters from the teenager, Marc Riboud has immortalized the scene. As evidenced by the digital contact sheet by Magnum, French photographer was wide shots of the crowd when he saw off the silhouette Jan Rose Kasmir. Click, clack, click, clack … Riboud, since its lateral position, increases the triggering and finished his film. In addition to the black and white photos, it also supports color images, we will not find out for decades. Here is his account of that time made it a few years ago TV5 Monde:

“The circumstances are that I was there at the right time I had. walking all day from early morning, j ‘had come from Paris to Washington. (…) the protesters broke into small troops at the end. He hardly one left, night fell. I was lucky, I was the only one to have this scene … “

” Marc Riboud reconciled the form and substance “

L instinct Riboud did fly. The image will become a perfect symbol of the peace movement of the “sixties”, and even a textbook case for the photographic analysis, both visual oppositions are numerous: phallic bayonet against virginal flower multitude against loneliness, dark against light or death against life, as the site compiles the images Sens.

“This picture says a lot of ability Marc summarize very strongly a situation,” said to “Obs” photographer Patrick Zachmann, colleague and friend Marc Riboud in the Magnum agency. “His strength was to reconcile the form and substance. For him, the direction was important. It was not aesthetics for aesthetics.”

Many years elapse before Jan Rose Kasmir take cognizance of the photo taken by Marc Riboud. It was his father who, surprise, surprise, discovers the image of her daughter in a photo magazine bought in Scotland, in the middle of the 1980′s “Girl with a flower” will subsequently subjected to stress media, she recounts the “Guardian” saying cry when discovering for the first time the snapshot in an exhibition ( “it took me back to sadness I felt at that moment”).

the icon has continued to engage against the war. In 2004 she found Marc Riboud in 2004 during a demonstration in London against the US invasion of Iraq. Reunion immortalized by the photographer, who then grabs the face of the fifties brandishing his own portrait dated 1967

good iconic picture, the image is Jan Rose Kasmir arise when regularly mentioned clichés in the same vein. Recently, the image of the anti-racist activist Tess Asplund facing neo-Nazis, and especially that of a protester African American standing with the police in Baton Rouge have led to comparisons with photography by Marc Riboud. Sign of the important place occupied, even today, the girl and the flower in the collective memory.

The images of former resistant, prevents Patrick Zachmann, can not however be reduced to this mythical cliché. At the journalistic aspect, it prefers poetic piece of work of Riboud, newspaper photographer in distant lands, including Maoist China was the stomping ground.

 Beijing in 1965 (Marc Riboud)

He cites this picture taken during a meeting of photographers in Japan, “beautifully composed, which says a lot about the report photographers to photography”. Or street photography he has taken from the store of an antique dealer (above), with his “subtle characters, its executives under which expresses so much on Beijing this time” . With the turning of the conversation, Zachmann loose word: Marc Riboud was a “monument”

Cyril Bonnet



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