François Gragnon (b.1931) started specialising in celebrity photography after World War II, and was hired in 1955, by André Lacaze at Paris Match. He was 24 years old. He worked for Paris Match from 1955-84.
He has taken many world-renowned photos, such as the back of Hitchcock, entering the water in the sea in Cannes up to his knees. ‘We had made an appointment with Alfred Hitchcock at 7am, in Cannes, and had asked him to be dressed in a very British fashion. In a small cove, away from the other photographers, he said ''You know, I can walk on water”……then he advanced and sank in the water, arms outstretched at his sides. Back on the beach, he said: ''Today, it didn’t work."
He has shot Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich, Maria Callas, de Gaulle, Piaf and many others. One of his most famous series was of Steve McQueen, at the 1964 International Six Day Trial in Erfurt, East Germany, which went a long way to creating the enduring image of McQueen the motorcyclist. The actor rode in the American team and, by chance, Gragnon captured him in the competition, hanging out with other bikers, rare moments of a Hollywood superstar being just one of the lads in a far less contrived age.
Paris Match Marie Claire stamps on the verso. Swedish press stamps. Handwritten PM 961 Liz Taylor.