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Marc Riboud

Memories in Pictures

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Marc Riboud is a living legend, a star Magnum photographer. A man who, in the Paris of 1951, met three of the founders of that illustrious photo-cooperative, Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Capa and David Seymour. In this video you meet a man who at 88 is unassuming, wise, and still passionate about photography.

He hasn't switched to digital photography. Riboud likens the handling of his camera to that of a concert pianist with his piano. The pianist knows where every key is without looking or even having to think about it. Practicing for five or six hours a day, the positions of the notes become instinctive. He can concentrate on the music. And so it is for Marc Riboud with his film camera. You can't, and shouldn't try to, teach an old dog new tricks.

Like Bresson, Riboud has an uncanny ability to capture striking images of fleeting moments. Moments that betray intimate thoughts and feelings that stunningly or funnily freeze an everyday instant that would otherwise pass unnoticed, moments that express in powerful compositions the realities of war and political change.

This interview with Marc Riboud is spiced with some of his most remarkable photos and his comments on them: The man with no safety line painting the Eifel Tower, the girl with a flower facing soldiers with bayonets outside the White House, and many more.

In 1957, Marc Riboud was one of the first European photographers to go to China during the years of the Cultural Revolution and meet Chairman Mao. He reported on the Vietnam War from the North and the South. Later he travelled widely, though concentrating much on Asia.

The list of people he has photographed runs from Abbé Pierre to Lech Wallensa, from Max Ernst to Mitterand, from the Beatles to Simone de Beavoir.

"Rather than a profession, photography has always been a passion for me, a passion closer to an obsession."  From the title page of Marc Riboud's website.