2nd June, 1982. I'm waiting for the end of the Summit Conference of the industrialized countries on the balcony of the Conference Palace in Versailles. The news fall: The Israelis have invaded Lebanon. Supported by Sipa Press Agency, I decide to join the photographers who are at the front.
I've travelled for two weeks with Tsahal before reaching the inner suburbs of Beirut, near the first Palestinian lines. I go back to Paris where my pictures have been sold to "Match", "VSD" and "Le Nouvel Obs." The Israelis try a breakthrough in Yahze. Reza who works for Newsweek breathes suffocating gas during the battle. Consequently, the weekly demands someone to replace him there. There, it's hell. According to the headlines in the newspapers, more bombs have been dropped than in the Vietnam War. In my head, I reflect on Mac Cullin's pictures, because i have been choosen for the same job.
The Americans trust me! They offer me a guarantee and pay for all my expenses: 60 dollars a day to die.
With Eugene Richards and Alex Webb as guarantee for Life, I board in Lacarna. Beirut. On the boat, in the distance, I can see the city burning. I get through the first check point of the PLO. Everywhere, there are men hidden behind horses, protected by sacks of sand. The taxi goes at full speed towards the Commodore Hotel, the pantheon of the great reporters of that time: Mac Cullin, Demulder, Nachtwey, Spengler...
The Lebanese phalanxes are in control of eastern Beirut, from where the movies are dispatched. We always pray that they (the films) don't become the target of isolated snipers when they get through the green line (name of the demarcation zone between east and west).
Extract from Photojournalisme, « le guide », published in 1995. CFD