There is only one Eliane Laffont, she is a woman of vision with a heart for adventure and a passion for photography. She, who would have been a writer, had she not married Jean-Pierre Laffont a French photojournalist. Destiny had other plans for Laffont, as she found herself creating a dynamic space for photojournalism in the United States marketplace. She came from Paris with the work of six photographers in tow, and she launched the U.S. operation of Gamma Agency from the highest throne.
Laffont recalls, “Only in America can this happen. My first day at work, I bought a copy of Time magazine on the street, I looked at the masthead and called the first name: Henry Grunwald, Editor in Chief at the time. His assistant clarified that I should speak with the director of photography. She said, ‘Hold on, I’m going to connect you,’ and because the call came from Mr. Grunwald’s office, I was given an appointment that day. I called at 10:30 in the morning and at 3:00 in the afternoon I was meeting with John Durniak.
“It was 1968. Those were the interesting years. Look and Life magazines had closed and John Durniak wanted to re-create the big picture stories and photo essays at Time Magazine. He also wanted to develop the international pages. And this is exactly what I showed him that day: the war in Vietnam, the students’ unrest in Paris, the 6-day war in Israel, the agricultural reform in Chile, Lebanon, Iran… I showed him black and white prints and he looked at them all very slowly in silence. After ten minutes, he turned to me and said, ‘Who are you?’
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