The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation For Documentary Photography & Film
Lucien Clergue – 2015 Photography Prize
Manuel Rivera-Ortiz on Lucien Clergue
Not since I last saw my grandparents in Puerto Rico, so spry and so full of life, have I encountered someone who knew how to speak to me with a simple glance. Lucien knew how to clearly make me understand with just a look, even from the first moment we met. His glance, seemingly transmitting millions of bits of information in a flash, told me was that I was welcomed here. For what it’s worth, I had re-found my island family right here in the south of France. His glance also told me that I was safe here. I believed him and so here we are setting up roots in a city that is still fairly new to us but that for very personal reasons feels decades familiar. When Lucien passed in 2014, all the way in Rochester, New York, I felt that a very personal tragedy had just occurred – that I had just lost not only a great mentor, but a member of my very own family. Even as I write this, emotions well up. I miss ‘Lucien the Great’ because to me he was great. We now bestow on him through his wife and children, our Foundation Prize. I can’t think of none other who deserves it most. I wish that he had been here to receive it himself, just like I wish that I had been given the opportunity to tell him personally how much he meant to me. Rest in peace my friend and mentor. You are sorely missed.