Martine Franck

BIOGRAPHY

1938-2012

Born in Belgium, Martine Franck grew up in the United States and in England. She studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the École du Louvre in Paris. After a trip to the Far East with Ariane Mnouchkine, Franck worked at Time-Life in Paris as an assistant to the photographers Eliot Elisofon and Gjon Mili. 


After joining the Vu Photo Agency, she contributed to the founding of the Viva agency in 1972. Franck took many portraits of artists and writers, including a noteworthy series of women for Vogue. She undertook more far-reaching work for the French Ministry of Women's Rights in 1983. That same year she became a full member of Magnum Photos. Since 1985 Franck has collaborated with the International Federation of Little Brothers of the Poor, a non-governmental organization which cares for the elderly and outcasts of society. It was in 1993 that Franck first visited the island of Tory, off the northwest coast of Ireland. She next traveled to Asia to meet Buddhist Tibetan children in India and Nepal. With the help of Marilyn Silverstone, a former member of Magnum Photos who became a Buddhist nun, she encountered the Tulkus, the young lamas who are thought to be the reincarnations of ancient great spiritual masters. In 2003 and 2004 undertook a theater project in which she shadowed the avant-garde stage director Robert Wilson at the Comédie Française, documenting his innovative rendition of La Fontaine's Fables.


While working at a fashion show for the New York Times, Franck met Henri Cartier-Bresson, whom she later married. Franck founded in Paris with Cartier-Bresson, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, which became an officially recognised foundation on March 11, 2002, and became its President in 2004.