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May 16, 2014
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Inside Casino Royale

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Monte Carlo, Monaco

By Eric Gaillard

Almost nine months after my initial request to photograph inside the Monte Carlo Casino, the gold-leaf backdrop for fictional British spy James Bond in “Casino Royale”, I was contacted for an interview to present my project and three months later received news that is was accepted.

Perched above the Mediterranean Sea to the east of the French Riviera, Monaco is synonymous with the glamour brought by Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, whose marriage made her Princess Grace, the roar of Formula 1 motor racing cars in the streets of the principality, luxury shops and its famous Casino, where gamblers win or lose at the turn of the roulette wheel, the luck of the cards at the blackjack tables, or with the one-armed bandits.

Jun 15, 2013
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Scraping by as a French pensioner

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Nice, France

By Eric Gaillard

One evening while returning home I came upon a scene that I had never imagined in a country as rich as France – people rummaging through supermarket trash bins looking for food.

In spite of the difficulties I would encounter, I decided to go ahead and meet these people head-on. That day I saw an elderly man waiting on a public bench. Quickly I understood that he was waiting for the trash container from a nearby neighborhood supermarket. I approached him, with my camera on my shoulder, and started a conversation, which stopped abruptly with a curt, “Leave me alone, don’t take my photo”.

May 28, 2013
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The old Cannes clapper-board

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Cannes, France

By Eric Gaillard

In 1987, I covered my fifth Cannes Film Festival. I really wanted to find THE original and exclusive photo to announce its opening.

“The cinema Clap” – An idea which became evidence: Take a photo of the President of the Jury holding a cinema clap. The show begins for another 12-day festival.

Nov 15, 2012
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On the French poverty precipice

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Juan Les Pins, France

By Eric Gaillard

Several days prior to the winter truce for evictions in France for people who are behind on their rent, I asked myself how I could illustrate and make contacts with people who could help. The local associations I spoke with seeking help to make contact with those in precarious living situations were not helpful as they saw this as voyeurism, that these individuals were ashamed and would not permit a photographer to follow them.

Thinking that the story idea had hit a dead end, a local elected official from Antibes, 30 kms (18 miles) from Nice, informed me that he took care of people in precarious situations. At their local offices I studied their listing to learn that a man was living in an underground carpark in nearby Juan Les Pins. The official and I contacted Paul to explain the reason of my reportage. He accepted my invitation to meet.

Jan 6, 2012
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Operating on an implant scandal

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WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES THAT CONTAIN NUDITY

By Eric Gaillard

The PIP breast implant scandal or how a French news story became a global health problem.

During a recent daily news briefing, I learned from a Paris-based editor that a plastic surgeon in Nice named Dr. Denis Boucq had decided to remove breast implants manufactured by a French company called Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) as a precaution.

Jan 27, 2011
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Dreaming of the Dakar Rally

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Since the creation of The Paris-Dakar Rally in 1979, I’d always dreamed of one day covering this extraordinary adventure.

Each year, I would follow the televised summaries of this rally race that traversed exceptional landscapes. So when I was asked to cover this event I didn’t have to think on it for long! It was with a feeling of excitement and trepidation that I embarked on this adventure.

Jul 8, 2010
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Witness to a cobblestone crash

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I am writing this on the road from rural eastern France at the end of the fourth stage of the month-long Tour de France. It’s hot and dusty outside with temperatures at about 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). On the backs of the motorcycles in protective gear we are suffering as we spend all day in the sun. Fortunately there has been a lot happening in these early stages of the Tour and the images have been worth it.

On the third stage of the Tour between Wanze in Belgium and Arenberg in France, I was riding on the second of our two motorcycles. The second bike is not authorized to shoot the riders on the move, but instead can overtake the pack and then stop on the side of the road so the photographer can shoot the riders as they pass by. The third stage was very special as the last 50 kilometers were on the famous cobblestone backroads of northern France more commonly associated with the Paris-Roubaix cycling classic. This section is known as the “Hell of the North”. I have covered 21 Tour de France races, but never had the occasion to cover either Paris-Roubaix, nor shoot a cobblestone section.

Feb 3, 2010
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Remembering the Concorde crash

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On July 25, 2000, I had returned to Paris after four weeks of covering the Tour de France and was in the office waiting for my flight back to my home base Nice. It was a quiet day for news and that afternoon I relaxed in the office.

Paris photographer Philippe Wojazer told me, “because it’s quiet, there isn’t any need for the two of us here, I’m going back to my place.” I remember seeing him take his motorbike helmet and then seeing a news flash that said, “Plane crash at Roissy.” The adrenaline was pumping in the office when a second news flash announced “It is a Concorde.”

    • About Eric

      "I was born in Nice but spent most of my childhood in Asia, particularly in Cambodia. Back in France to finish my studies I started a stringer collaboration with AFP in 1977. In 1985 I joined the Reuters photo service, based in Nice, covering a wide range of news events such as Czech and Romanian revolutions, the first gulf war, unrest in Bosnia, Lebanon and Israel, winter and summer Olympic games, tour de France cycling race and the Cannes Film festival."
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