Thierry is a photojournalist and author whose work appeared on the BBC, Canal+ and 60 minutes.
Thierry has spent his life using his cameras to understand the world. Covering coups in North Africa, strikes in Poland and apartheid in South Africa, his documentaries have appeared on the BBC, Canal+ and 60 Minutes. Thierry, a native Parisian with deep roots in this quartier, is our storyteller for “Montmartre.” Thierry takes you back to the birth of the Belle Époque through his great-grandfather’s many personal and moving stories.
Your documentaries have been featured on many of the world’s top networks and your photos in many of the world’s top magazines and newspapers. How has your work as a documentarian affected your approach to storytelling when you are not behind your camera?
It is very pleasant to tell directly, and on site, a great story to real people. Journalism and filmmaking have probably equipped me with a sense of getting to the essential part of the story while maintaining a thread through the many symbolic details that make the flesh of the journey.
You lead the amazing Montmartre Journey, but you have added quite an interesting twist to it — your own personal history and that of your family. What is it like to take visitors on a Journey that has such a deep familial connection?
For me this journey is very personal, because of the story of my great-grandfather, who played a role in both the Commune, as a message runner, and in the Belle Époque, as a co-founder of Le Chat Noir’s literary journal. These events are in my DNA, so as a journalist and as a Parisian, I get a great satisfaction of connecting the dots from the Montmartre of my great-grandfather to the one we experience today.
It seems that for you the period of the Belle Époque in Paris was among the most important historical periods for France, but also for Europe and the world. Can you tell us why?
The Commune gave birth to the Belle Époque and largely laid the foundations of the French political system. What inspires me the most about Montmartre — and Paris generally — is the irreverence of its people, its unruliness, and the Belle Époque is a time that best exemplifies this Parisian attitude of irreverence and boldness. The arts and creativity that flourished in Montmartre at the time gave the rest of Europe, and the world, many visionary artists and creators whom we still hold dear today.