Claude Gassian On Photographing Leonard Cohen: “He possessed grace and class… His eyes sparkled with laughter.”


I believe Leonard Cohen was someone fundamentally human. He never put on the celebrity act. He never made a fuss when he was being photographed. He understood my way of doing things and accepted it. He let me do my thing, gave me total freedom. I really loved those sessions because I felt I could express myself fully. Once, however, he decided to pose in a certain way. I found the result interesting because he was reinventing his image. For example, there is this photograph where Leonard Cohen rests his face in his hands, his eyes closed. He possessed grace and class… His eyes sparkled with laughter. At first, he seemed to be rather reserved, but in fact he had a keen sense of humor, he was very outgoing. When I photographed him, I felt we were working towards the same thing. He was present in my silence. He was part of it.


Claude Gassian


From Claude Gassian: “Leonard Cohen possessed grace and class” by Jean-Baptiste Gauvin (Eye of Photography: May 16, 2017). Entire interview with Claude Gassian and 20 of his Leonard Cohen photos can be accessed at the link.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted May 16, 2017.

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