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Racine's Phaedra as poetic photojournalism

For the Comedie-Francaise’s 1995 production of Racine’s Phaedra, Director Anne Delbee chose world-famous French photographer Lucien Clergue to illustrate the accompanying theatre program with ten black-and-white photographs. Drawing from his background in newspaper and theatre photography, and with the full cooperation of the Comedie-Francaise, Lucien Clergue expanded the initial assignment into a high-quality hardcover book—Phaedra—which successfully blended Racine’s original text, Christian Lacroix’s original costume drawings, Director Anne Delbee’s commentary, and his own black-and-white and color photography. This article examines the nature of photojournalism and the photo essay, as well as the elements of poetic photographic vision, and discusses Lucien Clergue’s Phaedra as an expression of what the author calls “poeticphotojournalism”.

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