There’s a new photo exhibition on at the gallery of the Hôtel and Spa la Belle Juliette! And it’s free!
Léon Herschtritt has dedicated 80 years to the art of photography! Born in 1936, he learned his craft at the École nationale de la Photographie (National Photography School) before being sent on assignment to Algeria by the education ministry.
With Les Gosses d’Algérie (The kids of Algeria), his first report in 1960, he received – age 24! – the prestigious Niépce Prize organised by Gens d’images. “I am,” he says with a glint in his eye, “the youngest ever winner of the prize!”
Back in Paris, working as an independent photographer, Herschtritt published his reports and portraits in the magazines of the times, and became a member of the famous photography club, 30 x 40.
Through chance friendships, meetings or commission, the young Léon had breakfast every Sunday with Jacques Prévert, met the stars of the day, immortalised the events of May 1968 and the changing city landscape.
With a deeply humanist regard, an innate sense of composition and real eithcs of reporting, Léon Herschtritt photographed France of the 1960s, a world in transition, with the Les Halles market, the Vietnam war, miniskirts and the Café de Flore.
In 1961, he left to take photos of the first Christmas after construction of the Berlin Wall. In Africa, he documented the end of the French colonies for the photo library of the Ministry of Cooperation. In Paris, he took photos of the streets, the cafés, children and celebrities.
In the early 1970s, Léon and his wife Nicole opened a bistrot where all their photographer friends would come and meet. They next became specialist antique photo merchants, with a stall at the flea market, followed by a gallery in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
In recent years, we can thank him for rediscovering his archives and showing them to us.
For this exhibition at the Hôtel and Spa la Belle Juliette, the Galerie Esther Woerdehoff has chosen to spotlight two of Herschtritt’s series of portraits: Les Amoureux de Paris, a tender look at young love that seems timeless, and celebrities, including Karen Blixen, Serge Gainsbourg, Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Seberg, stars of the era captured by the sparkling eye of the photographer.
These beautiful prints invite us to to look back affectionately at Paris of the 1960s.
The Léon Herschtritt echibition – les amoureux de Paris is at the Hôtel & Spa La Belle Juliette (here) until 25th June 2017
Entrance free from 11am-10pm