Estelle Lagarde – Hélène

Estelle LagardeHélène

Book launch

The Peinture Fraîche team is pleased to invite you to the signing of the book Hélène by the photographer Estelle Lagarde, on Saturday 12 November from 3 to 5 pm.

“We met in 2004, in the metro. I approached you with the desire to photograph you. At the beginning you were my model, over time we became friends. Photography has this magnificent power to fix time, space and people. But books even more so. Because your life, your face and your beauty were atrociously torn from the world on November 13, 2015, this book needs to be.” Estelle Lagarde

Six years after the Bataclan attack, Estelle Lagarde has published a book in memory of her friend and model, Hélène Muyal Leiris. Those who follow the photographer’s work already know Hélène’s face, since a portrait of the model was on the cover of her previous book L’auberge. In this new book, in memoriam, Estelle Lagarde tells the story of their meeting in text and photos, from the moment she approached this stranger one day in the metro, fascinated by her personality, then their collaboration until this last photograph in which she became her friend. Hélène is the book of this testimony.

There are the words. Those that Estelle Lagarde wrote for Hélène. Simple, direct, human. They tell the story of the birth of a friendship, built in the game and the complicity of an artistic creation, in this case photography. The movements of the heart and soul between an artist and her model, who over the years will become one of the recurring figures in the photographer’s projects.

There are the images. Those that Estelle has made of Hélène. Staged, thought out and intended to feed a series, a project for an exhibition or a book. And then there are Hélène’s big eyes, which seem to magnetise Estelle. The moments of pause, captured on the fly. This mixture of gravity, challenge and connivance. As if these two women were taming each other, and gradually recognising each other.

These images and words emanate an almost twin-like or sisterly state between the two women. As if this first meeting in the metro had been written in advance, as if their respective paths were made to meet.

We read, we see, before our eyes, a friendship being born and built. To blossom. Quietly. Deeply.
And this explosion that we don’t immediately identify.
The barbarity.
13 November 2015.
Hélène dies under the terrorists’ bullets. Shock. A word that has unfortunately become almost a cliché.
Little Melvin will never see his mother again
A few weeks earlier Hélène was on the cover of the book L’auberge by Estelle Lagarde. She looks into our eyes and looks at us, determined and free.
A few weeks later, Antoine Leiris, her companion and Melvin’s father, will write Vous n’aurez pas ma haine.
This new book by Estelle Lagarde is a tribute to Hélène. It is the trace of a story between two independent, assertive and combative women.
It is ostensibly imbued with strength and resistance.

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