Monday, July 13, 2009

With My Old Pal Jean Giraud

If you're at all interested in unique photographic portraits of cartoonists, there's a great book available called The Artist Within by Greg Preston. Greg has an eye for capturing the unpretentious essence of many famous cartoonists around the world in a series of riveting black and white photographs often taken in their studios. Others show the artists in places away from their studios, and even then Greg manages to use those settings to tell us something about the artist. In my opinion, one of the best in the book shows Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, standing on the beach in Santa Monica, California with his back to the ocean, facing the beach. It's a wonderful portrait of Giraud, a gentle man and an amazing artist. The fact that Greg depicted him not facing the ocean, as might be typical in a snapshot or travel image, makes for an interesting, maybe even introspective portrait. Greg began taking photos of cartoonist more than fifteen years ago and many of those included in the 216-page book have since passed away. This book was published in 2007 and I understand a second volume is due out sometime this year. Great stuff!

Eat your heart out, Greg Preston! Is this a great photograph or what?
I first met Jean Giraud in 1981 when he was at Disney Studios in Burbank, California, working on Tron. When I heard that he was on the lot I made a point of meeting him. We had lunch a few times and got along wonderfully. His English was far better than my French but we managed to communicate quite well. This photograph was taken ten years later at the San Diego Comic Con. He remembered me and by then I had the stupid WITH MY OLD PAL sign which brought a smile to his face.


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