Life and work
of Martine Franck

Video   •   5 min March 2021

Martine Frank (BE, 1938-2012) became the first woman to be accepted as a full member of the Magnum photo agency. For her the camera was the key that opened the door to the entire world. With empathy and vision, she took a stand for women, the elderly, refugees and communities at risk of being forgotten.

“From your day of birth until the moment of your death, life is nothing but a constant revolution. Nothing is permanent. The most difficult thing is to accept changes in oneself, around oneself, among others but still, isn’t the journey to self-understanding, forgiveness and surpassing oneself, the most beautiful adventure ?”
- Martine Franck, ‘A letter to the revolution’

Uninterested in speed, francktook time to forge respectful relationships with her subjects. Her photographs express a unique visual language of strong composition, moving observation and a deep appreciation for life.

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Beach, village of Puri, India, 1980 © Martine Franck / Magnum Photos

“For me, Martine Franck stands for the glorification of life. From birth to death ... She chooses life fully." According to Tatyana Franck, family of photographer Martine Franck and director of Musée de l'Élysée, this is what characterizes Martine Franck.

Together with Agnès Sire, artistic director of Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, she guides us through the life and work of the Antwerp-born Magnum photographer. Both knew her personally, and they agree: Martine Franck always took the time to bond with the people she portrayed, from her images of famous artists to the elderly she photographed in nursing homes. You can feel this in her photos. Her working method is in contrast to that of her husband Henri Cartier-Bresson who characterized photography as the decisive moment or 'le moment décisif',

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