Monday, March 9, 2009

Graham Greene


At the request of Caroline's friend Peter, I am posting a photograph of Graham Greene.

This picture was taken around 1979 in Antibes, France on the terrace of his small apartment. I was commissioned by The Daily Telegraph Magazine, arranged through Greene's friend Auberon Waugh, son of Evelyn.

As I got out of the elevator I saw this very tall man standing in the doorway of his apartment, his right arm bent upwards as though he was supporting the top of the door frame. His greeting was, "Just been burgled." I looked more closely and saw the signs of forced entry, the jemmy marks and the split wood. This was shortly after the publication of J'accuse and the Nice mafia were after him.

He kept his wine
under the kitchen table in the box it was delivered in and we had a glass. We talked a little about Auberon Waugh and how very funny he was and then about Laurence Durrell who 's writing he found overblown.

The magazine wanted Greene to be with books in the photograph, not only in the background but also with one in his hand, or on his lap. Encouraged by me he refused, calling the idea banal. Editors often ask for obvious props and touches.


3 comments:

  1. Wonderful photo Dmitri. Given how close you took the shot, anything in the background would've certainly lessened the impact of Greene's intense stare. Incidentally, one of my favorite writers Henry Miller was a longstanding friend of Durrell and often lauded his novels. Its been years now, but then, after a number of attempts to try to read him, Greene was being kind.

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  2. Thank you, Dmitri! The photo and commentary are fascinating! My favorite Greene novel is Brighton Rock. As a student in England, I traveled to Brighton just to see the boardwalk for myself. I had only enough money for the Bed and Breakfast, with that breakfast (toast, egg, beans, stewed tomatoes, tea) my only meal of the day! The decoration on the wall in my B+B room was a fold-out from a porno magazine!

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