Véra et Arlette, Cannes, Mai, 1927 (All Photos: J.H. Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture - France / A.A.J.H.L)
In Jacques Henri Lartigue’s beautiful photographs the sun is always shining, the flowers are always in full bloom, and long nails are always perfectly manicured and ready for a close-up. Whether this is a reflection of the photographer’s extraordinary capacity to inject joy into everyday situations, or simply of his implicit knowledge of how to live well (between Paris, the Biarritz and the French Riviera, preferably), is a mystery. Either way, it makes for delightful viewing.
Though Lartigue wasn’t recognised professionally for his photography until a comparatively advanced age, he was rarely found without a camera in-hand, and so the day-to-day snapshots taken throughout his life build an autobiographical narrative which is equally as, if not more compelling than a diary ever could be. From his first wife Coco nonchalantly trimming the flowerbeds on the terrace in Neuilly, to tightly corseted walks along the beach at Villerville in Normandy, you’ll be hard-pressed to resist his charms.
Jacques Henri Lartigue: The Blink of an Eye runs from June 8 until August 9, 2016, at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London.
Bibi, Arlette and Irène. Cannes, 1929.
(L) Florette, Monte Carlo beach, Août 1953. (R) Renée Biarritz, August 1930.
Coco on the terrace, Neuilly, June 1938.
Cousin Caro and M. Plantevigne, Villerville, 1906.
Mary and Janine Dupuis under the soft top of Jacques Dupuis’s Pic-Pic, her father, La Baule, 1915.