Born in Indiana, Larry French is a photographer, writer, and a former executive of both the French jeweler, Van Cleef & Arpels and the Italian, Gianmaria Buccellati. As a photographic artist, he is drawn to the unseen, the intangible, and the overlooked. French attended UCLA, studying under Robert Heinecken and later continued his studies at the Art Center College of Design.
His black and white images have been exhibited nationally, in exhibitions at the South Eastern Center for Photography in South Carolina, The New York Center for Photographic Art, The Los Angeles Center for Photography, the Praxis Photographic Art Center in Minneapolis and The Midwest Center for Photography. His work was recently selected for the Cartier-Bresson Passporte Prize for street photography. His work has also been exhibited internationally in Moscow, Budapest and Rome.
His poems, essays and short stories have been widely published, appearing in various publications through out the United States, including the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and the Harper Collins Guide to College Reading.
As a jeweler, French organized eight major museum exhibitions including the Smithsonian, The Los Angeles County museum of Art, The Royal Ontario museum, the Honolulu Academy of the Arts and others. He taught extension classes on historical jewelry at the University of California at Riverside and also at the University of California at San Diego. He has lectured through out the United States, Canada and Europe. He now represents the Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation, a non-profit company based in Venice, Italy. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
I was a hunter, born and raised in the farm country of Indiana. When I was 10 or 11 my father began taking me target shooting. By the time I was twelve I was hunting by my fathers side with my own rifle and shotgun. We hunted as far south as Kentucky and up through the length of Indiana and into upper Michigan. I was good at it. Not just the shooting, but moving quietly through the woods and fields, all senses alert, looking, hearing, even smelling. I never felt more alive than when I was hunting. I loved it and, for about five years, I lived for it. Then just after I turned seventeen something happened. It had been building and one afternoon after a day in the field I realized I didn’t like the killing. And I never hunted again. But I missed everything about it, everything except the killing.
Years passed. I married, divorced, married again, moved to California and began to study photography. First at UCLA and then at Art Center College of design. But it was many, many years before I finally made a connection between hunting and my photography. It happened in Chinatown. There was a strange light on an old rusted door in an abandoned warehouse. I was worried the light would change so I literally ran to get the shot.
And it was then; right after taking that particular photograph that I begin to understand. I was once again wildly happy. I felt alive and alert in all my senses. I may have been a grown man moving quickly down an alley in Chinatown but I was also a 14-year boy walking in the Indiana woods with his father. I was hunting again.
My hunting ground is different now. Instead of the hills, woods and fields of the Midwest I find myself moving quietly through the early morning light in a cemetery in Taos, a boulevard in Paris or a back alley in LA’s Chinatown. The animals I am hunting now are made of wild light and long shadows and most important for me, nothing ever dies.