I cover any news subject that is relevant to Reuters. My favourite assignments involve shooting lifestyle and human-interest stories.
In 1981 I gained a diploma in photography, and after that I started shooting stories for the newspaper, “Le Matin du Nord.” I worked for another regional paper and then became a photographer for Reuters in 1985. I have been working here now for almost 30 years.
My first assignment for Reuters was covering protests and celebrations on May 1, which is Labour Day in France. It was a little bit funny – I started my job on the day that everyone else has off work!
One of my best memories as a news photographer is seeing a picture of mine published on the front page of the International Herald Tribune. It showed a priest trying to walk through a row of tractors during a French farmers’ protest. The priest was wearing old-fashioned robes and, as he tried to get past demonstrators to go to church, he was blocked by riot police. It was a nice, slightly funny picture of a serious issue.
One assignment that sticks in my mind was photographing an improvised immigrant camp in Calais, which had been dubbed the “jungle”. Illegal migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, had gathered there near the port before trying to make the crossing to Britain. I can still remember the cries of one Afghan migrant as French police evacuated him and others from the area.
I really enjoy covering human-interest stories. It’s also exciting to cover French firefighters as they do their job. I’m a volunteer firefighter myself and I love capturing the action in my pictures.
As a photographer, it’s important to have humility. One day you might have the best pictures, another day you might miss the shot. It has happened that I’ve gone out to cover a subject and, once the job’s over and I’m back in my car, I’ve thought: “I missed the most important moment, and now it’s too late”.
There is a line by the French poet Jacques Prevert, which I sometimes think of while taking pictures: “Nothing that’s human leaves me indifferent.”