The star of the 33e edition of the Visa pour l’image festival, in Perpignan, that’s him. When Eric Bouvet comments on his retrospective of forty years of topical photos, the public flocked to the Convent of Minimes in such numbers that the doors had to be closed and people had to be refused. His fans are lining up to have him autograph his book, in the form of a major magazine, published on behalf of the author after a crowdfunding campaign on the Internet. “It’s social networks that make me eat, thanks to books, photo workshops, prints, not the press”, sums up, smiling but a bit bitter, the 60-year-old photographer.
This veteran, who covered both the fall of the Berlin Wall, the wars in Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq, holds his audience in suspense with his poignant images. But just as much by his legends and his comments delivered in a personal tone that clashes: he describes himself less as a great denouncer of the horrors of the world, than “Mr. Everybody” sometimes overwhelmed by emotion.
“My cement is my family”
Thin in his floral shirt, the photographer seems to foil the clichés attached to war photographers, known to drown their traumas in brawls, alcohol, drugs, speed or girls. We only know of one addiction, cycling, practiced in high doses. He will participate this month in the Ironman triathlon in Nice, if his back will leave him alone. “When the digital wave arrived, in the early 2000s, I drank the cup, he says. I had been around the world with the biggest magazines and, there, the phone stopped ringing. And, suddenly, I had time. I started cycling with my son Jules, he’s a real champion. For me, it was either that or the asylum. “
Eric Bouvet constantly puts forward his relatives – his daughter Cerise, who had the idea of making a book to celebrate her forty years of news, and, above all, his wife, Véronique, photo editor met at the Gamma agency, with whom he has been married for thirty-five years – an eternity in the trade. “I have always been a loner, but my clan, my cement, is my family, explains the photographer. Without her, I would have gone too far, or I would have gone mad. It wasn’t always funny for Véronique. “ It was she who allowed him to keep in touch with everyday life and normality – no question of moping, he had to wash the dog, take out the trash, see friends.
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