© Elizabeth Opalenik, Lucien shares Olivia with Picasso, Arles, 2008
Lucien Clergue was a prolific photographer and author who began studying the violin at age 7. It was Lucien’s mother who gave him his first camera: “A modest black box made of Bakelite which triggers everything. I was thirteen years old and it was an immediate love for photography. A lifelong passion. I knew it from the first day… Right from the start, I could only envisage photography from the artistic viewpoint.” Just as his 30 year friendship with Pablo Picasso was instrumental to Clergue’s career, he paid it forward by propelling the guitarist Manitas de Plata to fame. In 1968, and with his friend the well-known French writer Michel Tournier, Clergue founded the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival which is held annually in July in Arles.