Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Le Photographe

Le Photographe, by Emmanuel Guibert (Illustrator), Didier Lefèvre, Fréderic Lemercier

My rating: 5/5

This is the true story of Didier Lefevre, who accompanied an MSF (Médecins Sns Frontières - Doctors Without Borders) mission in 1986 to photograph the people involved in bringing medical care to war-stricken Afghanistan.

The first surprise is the format. Lefevre's original photographs are set in the graphic novel, interspersed with the canonical drawings and text boxes. The effect is seizing. Often, the next photograph is announced by the Lefevre in the situation, and then when it comes is is stark, often surprising, sometimes poignant.

True to his profession, Lefevre has an "eye" for those details that are utterly revealing of the situation, the cultural context, the contrast of western traveller's expectancies and the realities on the field.

The dialogues between himself and the doctors are often hilarious - low-key, tongue-in-cheek stuff. Sometimes things get serious, a doctor will launch into a rant and Lefevre transcribes it and sets it alongside the photo of the ranter.

Lefevre also reveals himself to be a cunning narrator, rumbling along and choosing to describe just those situations that give an impression of being there with him.

Also, quite surprising, one finds onself wishing to be there with him.

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