Pierre-Antony Allard

    Just as Guerlain has a Nose and Veyrat a Mouth, Harcourt has an Eye.This eye is concentrated but mercurial, amused yet uncompromising. It is not just an eye, it is a whole way of seeing and this eye belongs to a man who sees everything: Pierre Anthony Allard. He was just four years old, his curls well plastered down, when his mother took him to Harcourt to have his portrait taken.Twenty years later he returned, this time as a laboratory assistant, to learn how to be a photographer. Science studies and a period as a parachutist, which nearly cost him his life, had not distracted him from his first love: cinema. And what is cinema? Sets, lighting and the capacity to express the utmost of a character, those same qualities that – hardly coincidentally! – have forged Studio Harcourt's unique personality.Pierre Anthony Allard felt at home among the Cremer spotlights and rolls of film so he stayed, in fact he dedicated himself to Harcourt, not without a certain panache since it required faith to pilot the old vessel that seemed headed for the breakers yard. Owners came and went but Allard remained, always with the same catchword on his lips: we need to reinvent the Harcourt style, let's change direction and go full speed ahead.A revolution it was, but an intelligent one that did not disown its heritage wholesale. Allard is still working hard, and with good grace, to live up to that signature's reputation. Watching him behind the camera lens is like seeing a performing animal in its tamer's costume; he wields no whip, but bounding and stamping, exclaiming, roaring and exulting he strives for his sole aim: to lead the sitter into his "cinema".But he is no longer satisfied with just taking studio portraits, what he has always wanted is to fashion the colours of life. Hence his striking series of diptychs: a black-and-white studio portrait set next to another of the same model but taken in a real-life setting and in colour. Charpak immortalised in shades of grey then flamboyant amidst the psychedelic burettes in his laboratory, or Troyat intimidated by the footlights then suddenly imperial under the portrait of Tolstoy in his home.To transport equipment and team, to go to his sitters like an ambassador presenting his credentials rather than having them come to him, is now his goal. This mobile studio he dreams of setting up alongside race tracks and on red carpets is gradually becoming a reality since Anne-Marie de Montcalm providentially bought the studio. A fruitful complicity has developed between the Chairwoman and her Eye, cemented by their ambition to see the legendary Harcourt signature travel far and wide.

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    Pierre-Antony Allard