I have just learned that photographer Didier Lefêvre has passed away. What a shock. He was just at Angoulême, where the comic he made in collaboration with Emmanuel Guibert and Frédéric LeMercier, Le Photographe, was singled out as one of the essential works of the year. He had apparently been suffering from heart trouble for a while and died earlier today from a heart attack in his Morangis home.
Born in 1957, Lefêvre travelled the world as a photojournalist. In 1986, he accompanied a group of Médecins sans Frontières doctors on a relief effort in war-torn North-Eastern Afghanistan. Years later, his friend Emmanuel Guibert suggested to him a collaboration where they would tell Lefêvre’s story through a combination of the photos he brought back from his journey and comics sequences drawn by Guibert. The result, the three-volume Le Photographe, is a masterpiece of comics documentarism where Lefêvre’s photos and narration form a natural synthesis with Guibert’s drawings. The reconfiguration of what was conceived a independent images to narrative form seems effortless and even heighten their often considerable emotional impact. Le Photographe is simultaneously gripping personal reportage and an affecting work of art.
A fine legacy.