A photographer once remarked to André Maurois, “If I were to take a picture of a village wedding, Jean Cocteau would appear between the bride and groom.” And he was right; Cocteau was photographed everywhere, by everyone, in all guises and poses. Cecil Beaton posed him smoking an opium pipe, Lucien Clergue caught him in the romantic ruins of Arles where Cocteau was shooting Orphée, Arnold Newman shot him in Paris, and Philippe Halsman in New York. Cocteau possessed, of course, a modern genius for self-promotion, but he also cared deeply about his own art and the art of a technique he embraced with passion throughout his lifetime — photography. The fifth title in Godine’s Imago Mundi series, Jean Cocteau: The Mirror and the Mask provides a visually compelling photographic essay celebrating a central figure of this century.
Jean Cocteau: The Mirror and the Mask: