Jean Cocteau: The Mirror and the Mask:

A Photo-Biography

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.

Julie Saul has been a prominent figure in avant-garde photography since the 1980s. She has played a wide range of roles in the world of art, including stints as an independent curator for the Met and MoMA and as a lecturer at NYU, FIT, and the School of Visual Arts. Soon after earning her MA at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts, Saul opened a public gallery space in Soho. The gallery, which managed to remain in operation even as Soho shifted away from the arts, specializes in photography and video. While managing the gallery, Saul continues to teach and serves on the boards of the Association of International Photographic Art Dealers, Art Table, and Her Justice. She received an award from the Aperture Foundation in 2010 in honor of her accomplishments in the arts.