We got a call Friday from someone Fanny said was “un grand nom” — a well-known person. A famous photographer apparently. I didn’t think much of it when she asked me if I would go to Lubna’s hotel on the Champs d’Elysées for a photoshoot (Lubna Ahmad al Hussein the incredible Sudanese journalist who fights for women’s rights in her country). I thought I would like to go and see Lubna again, just because she’s so nice and so beautiful, and help with the photoshoot. With around seven other interns, I arrive at the hotel and Sihem, the president of Ni Putes Ni Soumises, greets us and tells us to wait for the photographer. She leaves to be with Lubna upstairs, and the photographer arrives in his jacket, with his old-fashioned camera. He motions to me, saying, let’s go, and we follow him into the street. Then he starts taking portraits of us individually, pulling at our hair or making us take off our scarves or coats. With the cold wind blowing on the Champs d’Elysées we had no idea what to make of this man, who was telling us we were stunning one moment than commanding us around the next. He put me against the wall and began to take portraits of me alone, then pulled off my headband, told me to laugh, gripped my jaw and cheeks in his strong hands, turn your head like this. Then he turned to Sihem who had just arrived and said, I never give compliments but the girls you have brought me are beautiful. “Vraiment.”
After the photoshoot, I went back to work without another thought. I didn’t know who the photographer was. I was certain I would never see the photos again. I didn’t care much about it– I hadn’t been ready for a photoshoot. I’d even had my hair in a ponytail.
Then today I was reading the news online. Front Page, Le Monde. The photographer’s face. I freaked out… That’s the photographer from last week! I began to research him like crazy and found out he is incredibly famous, with photo exhibits all over the world and celebrities like Johnny Depp in his dossier. François-Marie Banier. I couldn’t believe it. In shock, I went to ask Jef and Fanny where the photos he had taken last week were going and they said they would be published in his next book of photographs. So there it is. If he chooses my photo portrait from the photoshoot last week to go into the book, my face– sloppy make up and tired eyes, pony-tail– could be viewable by whomever. So watch out for it ;) In the meantime, you can visit his website or read this article about him.