Marie: François Gillet


On his site, François Gillet almost seems to regret the success of the first image, taken in 1974:

“I was only in my early twenties when my daughter Marie came quite un-expectedly into my life. The timing did not feel too good as I was then in the very early stage of my career. It did not take very long though before I fell under her charm and fascinated by her newly opened eyes onto the world, she became a new source of inspiration. I had never taken a picture of a child until then, never thought of it really. This picture turned-out to be my first, as I was approached by Lars Hall at Hall & Cederquist in 1974 for illustrating a rejuvenating product for Johnson & Johnson advertising in Sweden. Yes, in those days the photographer was part of the visual idea and concept, which is totally inconceivable today. A talented art director was more ”steering” than “dictating” the artwork, so whenever a photographer was chosen, there was not always a definite idea or a dummy, which allowed more freedom for creativity as the whole idea was a true collaboration.

This picture was later printed as a poster and sold all over the world in over 2 million ex by Scandecor, a Swedish company based in Uppsala. Following the success of this picture, I was to become a specialist at children pictures, which was not to please me after a while when this was no longer feeling right. To the opposite of what is common today among artists, I did not wish at any price falling into a specialized category and remaining there the rest of my life.” (franç

However he did stage a beautiful homage to that seminal image seven years later, when Marie would have been about nine – maybe he was prouder of it than it seems:


The only other image by him that is definitely Marie is this:


….a glorious tribute to his daughter, young life and exuberance. There’s also a detail from a tantalisingly different version on Pigtails in Paint (where you’ll also find a much more erudite article about the photographer than I could ever produce):



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