Death of Jimmy Glasberg, AFC, (1940-2023), a Man with a Movie Camera

Contre-Champ AFC n°339

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Cinematographer Jimmy Glasberg, AFC, passed on 13 January 2023, aged 83. He was the direct descendant of the pioneering "camera men" who weren’t yet called "directors of photography". Jimmy Glasberg, in both his thinking and his work, constantly questioned what it means to film and what he called "the filial passage from a still image to a moving image." He left behind a filmography that is rich in both its diversity and its ideological commitments.

Born at Nîmes on 22 March 1940, Jimmy Glasberg belonged to the generation of cameramen trained in the 1960s-70s during the golden age of news, TV reporting, direct cinema, and documentaries. This allowed him to perfect his dexterity with a shoulder camera or a "fist" camera. But it also allowed him to develop his own ethical stance regarding the act of filming, constantly returning to the very source of the "man with a movie camera", namely Dziga Vertov.

His father, who was a photographer working in Provence, passed along to his young son a taste for still photography, and then in the early 1960s, Georges Méjat, the famous news cameraman, introduced him to camera work and the work of live reporting. Throughout his career, Jimmy Glasberg navigated between documentaries and fictions, cinema and television, advertisements and music videos, exploring all of the registers of a moving camera, paying close attention to the rhythm, up to his experiments born out of the "PUM Manifesto", which like Dogma95, set down strict rules for shooting long takes. Although he was close to Henri Alekan, Jimmy also admired the great American documentary filmmakers such as D. A. Pennebaker, Richard Leacock and Albert Maysles, and also the underground cinema of Jonas Mekas.

Besides the recognition he garnered for his "carried" camera work, which allowed him to work on the rhythm of the image, and which was part of his vitally-important conception of the "act of filming", all those who were close to him will remember him as a figure, a gaze and a voice that were the reflection, at the AFC and outside, of his deep humanness. Jimmy was also capable of "Southern anger" when camera or lighting work didn’t meet his expectations for the subject, and recently, he was still expressing his enthusiasm for a documentary about the Kaufman brothers ("Dziga and his Brothers") whose work he wanted to bring to the attention of the younger generation.

Jimmy Glasberg and the AFC

Sponsored by cinematographers Pierre Lhomme, AFC and Edmond Richard, AFC, Jimmy Glasberg became a member of the AFC on 6 April 1991. An active member, he regularly attended all the general assemblies and the meetings of the Board, where his point of view, always expressed with warmth, was always most appreciated.

Pierre Lhomme et Jimmy Glasberg au Micro Salon AFC, en 2004 - Photo Marc Salomon
Pierre Lhomme et Jimmy Glasberg au Micro Salon AFC, en 2004
Photo Marc Salomon

Amongst his other activities, Jimmy participated in the drafting of the "Chart de l’image 2005" and often took up his pen to enhance the AFC’s website with his reviews, tributes to people he admired, and humoristic contributions. The cinematographers of the AFC send their friendly thoughts to his family and his loved ones.

In Memoriam and Interview Tributes to Jimmy Glasberg :

- Still images, moving images - In which Jimmy Glasberg, AFC, discussed his childhood and his early years behind the camera.
- "Working with Lanzmann means filming the unfilmable" - Extract from a long filmed interview with Gilles Porte, AFC
- To Jimmy Glasberg, by Philippe Ros, AFC
- Taking up the camera is a gesture, an act, a commitment, by Dominique Gentil, AFC
- For Jimmy Glasberg, by Stéphane Cami, AFC, and Etienne Fauduet, AFC

In French

- Jimmy Glasberg’s Filmography on the AFC’s website

(Translated from French by A. Baron-Raiffe, for the AFC)