Needless to say that I was extremely nervous about listening in on a conversation about George Rodger. I had read Carole’s biography on George Rodger and knew about his works; however, my knowledge wasn’t rich enough to be able to pin information to dates etc. So, I felt a bit of a novice really. Despite this, I always thought that George was ‘ahead of his time’ and really pioneered in taking his medium to new levels: breaking away from control of the magazines, establishing Magnum with Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and David ‘Chim’ Seymour. His battle to tell the stories the way HE wanted was made possible. If he was a practicing photographer, I wonder what he would do to ‘break the mould’ so to speak.
Carole speaks about writing the biography (took seven years) and how it difficult writing a non fiction book, when she could write about George’s experience such a way it could be misconstrued as fiction. She is a trusted source to talk about George Rodger as she feels that she knows as much about him as possible: what people tell her, she already knows. She struggled with how best she should treat George’s personal thoughts: notes in diaries and in love letters to not only his second wife, Jinx, but his first, Cicely. Although, she said that it was not always clear what emotions George felt, for he didn’t share it often. Talk turns to Bergen Belson and how George never spoke of it until decades later, consolidating his struggle to communicate his emotions.
It was great just listening to two people talking so fondly of George Rodger and that I was there (in the corner). But what’s better is that I met Carole in November with Jinx Rodger, George’s wife. And now, I feel as though my knowledge has gotten so much more detailed to the point sometimes, that when Jinx speaks of the ‘good Magnum days’ I feel like I remember it too, so weird!