Mis à jour le 6 octobre 2013 par Michel PuechMay 1973. Night has fallen on the quiet Rue Auguste Vacquerie, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, 500 meters from the Arc de Triomphe. At number 4, a group of young people are cramming boxes into a dark purple Daimler parked next to a Jaguar E-Type. They are photographers from the Gamma Agency, transporting their archives. The already famous news agency is on strike following a dispute between some of its partners. This is the origin of Sygma.
Once Christian Simonpiétri’s Daimler was packed full of negatives and contact sheets, it wouldn’t start. They had to be moved into another vehicle that followed James Andanson in his Jaguar towards the photographer’s home in Nogent-sur-Marne.
“We stretched plastic over the floor of his garage and stored everything there,” recalls Alain Noguès, a young photographer who had just arrived at the agency the year before.
What day was it? Nobody remembers the date, but the facts are there. Nobody denies them.