(AFP) – Aug 17, 2012
PARIS — Belgian photographer Martine Franck, a member of the Magnum Photos cooperative and the second wife of Henri Cartier-Bresson, has died aged 74, a source close to Franck said Friday.
Born in Anvers in 1938, the elegant Franck spent her childhood in the US and in England before studying art history in Madrid and at Paris's Ecole du Louvre.
Her photography took off in 1963 with trips to the Far East and a job at Time-Life's photographic laboratory in 1964.
In 1966, she decided to go freelance, selling her work to a range of publications including Life, Fortune and Vogue magazines, before joining the Vu agency four years later.
Franck was one of the founding members of the Viva agency in Paris in 1972 before going on to become a full member of the Magnum Photos cooperative, whose co-founder Cartier-Bresson she would later marry.
Her work at Magnum was wide-ranging, taking in portraits of artists and writers and coverage of humanitarian stories.
She became the official photographer of the Theatre du Soleil company, led by Ariane Mouchkine, and worked with the International Federation of the Little Brothers of the Poor, helping the elderly and vulnerable.
Franck married Cartier-Bresson in 1970, and was instrumental in preserving her husband's legacy by setting up the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in 2002.
Last year, the foundation auctioned off 100 of Cartier-Bresson's pictures, raising two million euros to swap its premises in Montparnasse in Paris for somewhere more spacious.
Franck herself was much feted in Paris: the Claude Bernard gallery showed a selection of her work this spring and a number of her portraits of artists were exhibited in November 2011 at the contemporary photographic art centre Maison Europeene de la Photographie.
She snapped a number of foreign artists -- including Miquel Barcelo, Marc Chagall, Leonor Fini, Zao Wou Ki and Fernando Botero -- in their Parisian studios, telling AFP at the exhibition openign that she enjoyed working with fellow foreigners and knew how to get their best portrait.
"You have to talk, put people at ease," she said, adding that she too had "come from somewhere else."
Franck's funeral will be held in the south-eastern French village of Luberon, where Cartier-Bresson was buried after his death in 2004.
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