Brigitte Patient, journalist.
(Preface to the book Hélène, Arnaud Bizalion editions. 2022)
November 13th, 2015 is a horrifying date. Each of us has experienced a loss, a supernatural loss, an infamous loss, a being carried off because of a corrupted cause. That year I saw Hélène for the first time, on the cover of a book L'Auberge by Estelle Lagarde published by La Manufacture de l'Image. A striking woman with necklaces of sausages and blood sausages. She was fascinating with her rebellious look, provoking with a glass of wine in her hand and a cigarette in the other, the smoke as breath of life. The association of the faded colours of the décor makes her appear majestic: oilcloth, wallpaper, aged wood.
In 2015, Hélène has no first name for me.
I see an arrogant, subversive, truly beautiful composition. A dream.
Today, when I open this book, I take the path revealed by the words written by Estelle Lagarde to meet with the infamous. The dream is deconstructed in black and white. But the winding road of her photographs leads to Hélène’s eternity. Everything has become a treasure in these two women's lives. They meet by sheer chance: the metro, glances, words to accost a stranger, a café, friendship, artistic fidelity, and above all the photographs.
When I open this book, I follow these two women. The journey is singular and I see the meanders of their links being woven. Entering a hotel, looking at the man at the reception desk, his shirt, his unshaven chin. I imagine and envy the complicity of the photographer and her model in this scene. Estelle Lagarde's words are also images. In the faded colours of the worn carpet of the staircase leading to the bedroom, I see her appear in black and white. Hélène. I leave it to you to discover this singular, tragic alliance, which can only be accepted with the photographs. It is immortal.
Estelle Lagarde has always worked the time. In her photographs, she models the presences, the absences, the traces left by lives in abandoned, forgotten places. When she met Hélène, she did not know that these settings would, one day, bring her back to life in our eyes. Because Hélène is no more. Except in these images. A fiction carried away by that November night. You have to keep the book at hand to savour the power of photography. Hélène takes away with her the emotions, the words, the photographer’s look now anchored in this intimate link with her model killed at the Bataclan. It is reborn in the depths of these pages.
Hélène has seen all of Estelle Lagarde's books, in particular L'Auberge published by La Manufacture de l’image, and it is she who appears on the cover of the book. She will not see the book that bears her name but, for us who are going to read it, this is how we meet her.

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