A work in progress … an explanation while it proceeds

My observations of Jacques Lecoq are part of my lifelong understanding of visual communications not as a teacher but reportage as a visual journalist. My contention is the zen of acting, journalism , living is about communication between beings. TRUTHFUL communication. Body language is essential to a Truthful reportage and the ability of one person to trust another.

Have the communications and professional methods of theater. But a theater building is no more theatre than a camera is visual journalism. Both are about SEEING, without which we are presented comodified cliché. Served by force at great expense.

Those of us who learn visually, communicate differently than the ordinary audio of words. The classroom, like verbality of a political speech was tourture, mostly bad cabaret with out the ability to order gin. Not that it is wrong but arrogant that it is the only way to learn and even that most words are true. As Secretary of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, sitting thru board meetings, I saw those who made images to prove words and other for whom visual experience was existential.

That existential experience and immediacy of sight was what drew me to Jacques. It is several degrees closer to life & clarity. Denies the weaselry of the confidence game before the trap snaps to break ones neck. Existential means life. Without which joy disappears. The absurdity of dust blow past abandoned buildings. Camus mentioned “an actor divorced from his setting is an absurdity” … in the theatrical sense & life also. Or as Jacques said to me “her movements are primarily decorative.”

At the end of this post, which is a beginning … a list of graduates of Ecole International de Theatre Jacques Lecoq. All working in multiple visual arts & performance. A working philosopher, like Camus, this is moments of his teaching presented in a reportage of sight. Scott

My observations of Jacques Lecoq are part of my lifelong understanding of visual communications not as a teacher but reportage as a visual journalist. My contention is the zen of acting, journalism , living is about communication between beings. TRUTHFUL communication. Body language is essential to a Truthful reportage and the ability of one person to trust another.

In progress, these are the portraits, not as celebrity, but as a philosophic master … a teacher who discovers and refines his teaching, I’ll finish this in the next days, needing to upload to server when the line was stronger, Scott

The beauty of a truthful reportage is that each time one glance toward it…

one learns something different …. HSH

“There are three masks: The one we think we are; the one we really are, and the one we share in common.” Jacques Lecoq

© h scott heist 13 photographs from essay Jacques Lecoq Observations, A last Class, 12 portraits and other collections tel:1. 610.346.8538 Splintercottage@aol.com use is restricted and by permission only
© h scott heist 13 photographs from essay Jacques Lecoq Observations, A last Class, 12 portraits and other collections tel:1. 610.346.8538 Splintercottage@aol.com use is restricted and by permission only

In the course of coverage of Fay & Jacques Lecoq during the Theatre of Creation Festival … we became friends. We liked each other … Jacques saw a double page of a 1938 biplane banking into the sunrise at less than thousand feet, over the flowing Delaware River, dawn breaking, sending lines of yellow light over my Bucks County, autumn fields and frosty trees he said: “Manifique.” and then … “This is what we teach.” Maybe there was the bound … how the world looked to us?

Part of my study was film. But I’m too much a solitary to work in it. A few tenants never forgotten was copy reading left to right and most importantly here … the viewers eye always goes to movement. That was Jacques basis … the concept of movement. He used theatre as a canvas … I was drawn to the magazine page. Fay understood in complete complicity … I concluded she was drawn to its sense of order. Once asking me how I did it all myself … business, cared for a little one who knew movement inherently and loved the theatre, and how I dealt with all” “the minutia”? “I follow it where it leads. And try not to be drawn into nonsense.” And make as few mistakes as possible then realize “panic is a waste of time”.

This was the level of conversation in the first day. Three way conversations, as Fay, a Scot, translated French to English & back again. Both Jacques and I thought long about complicated stuff. (I mean stuff.) Visual concepts that roiled over and around, side by side searching for the audio – words in our native languages- with which to communicate. Our native languages difficult enough for such description. It was electric. Static jumping. What Fay added was uncountable. The communication like the bending of a jazz not. Not MacAdamic conversation …. like the conversations I’ve had with journalist as good or better than I. Inhaling the oxygen of comprehension. Exhaling the panorama of conception.

I left university to study rather than learn to bark. My interest for Albert Camus, Combat News Paper and Camus’ editorials, Henri Cartier Bresson’s recognition of patterns, Giono’s belief in the simplicity of true humanity … and Post Colonial Journalism. If the University believed in the Vietnam attack … clearly post colonialism as a concept still waited in the wings. But for this conversation …. I was not without reference … the French theatre & film … techniques were part of the ability to walk in to class rooms at NYU & New School and sit and listen. We had comparison.

As I said to the most beautiful professor in the world, my French instructor at NYU, perfectly and stunning female from Martinque, when asked why I had so little interest in learning French: “I can’t read it fast enough.” I read about 2000 wpm in English. “I’ll find a job where I will learn French from French People not listening to a machine.” She was a brilliant simultaneous French translater at the United Nations, startled at my knowledge of French culture and literature. “I learn more about French by watching you.” Her head raised. The French raise in affirmation dispute via lowering. She was French enough to smile at my honesty rather than shake her head. Taught myself photograph too.

So that days conversation was a continuation of my dialog with the most beautiful French Teacher in the world begun when I was 17. As we parted, Fay said … we would welcome you to visit the school in Paris. The conversation , begun at NYU with the most beautiful French teacher in the world, would continue.

In the course of this inquiry, illness and time, the perplexity of fate & the nature of shadows over took us all. Fools stomping rather than playing in mud puddles. Movement without describable reason.

The work from Theatre of Creation wound up on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Arts & Culture, 12 pages in the magazine I was working on, Cover and most of an issue of Total Theatre UK, several separate stories in American Theatre, A full feature in Arts & Entertainment. A number of book covers including Routledge Companion, several exhibitions in XXX among other places & a number of museum acquisitions. The crackle was there.

It was the only school I ever liked. And felt comfortable. Phil my longest friend, we were babies together, replied to my reportage on the encounter … “I’m glad you found this … you have always been on the outside looking in.” To which I replied … “never wanted it. Outside is a good view for a journalist. “ Phil was a psychologist. And at a univesity … I don’t relate to training any more than breaking horses, but appreciated his point.

In my library, here at Splinter Cottage, is a final book where Fay more than kindly inscribed: “to Scott my dearest friend, Fay Lecoq, Paris and Jacques inscription from his grandest book “Pour Scott avec toute ma sympathie Jacques Lecoq, Paris”. It was exactly that “Simpatico”.

This is “A Public Demonstration”… students from one master class. Just one, look at them … nice to see without needless chatter …. we know what we see ….

Can never watch this without ending …smiling.

After two years, it ends…. the kids go home … at T.S. Elliot mentioned: “and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

After two years, learning to see … right through your friends … leaving sees no dearth of nerves, anticipation.

Just love Jacques look at Fay … and we knew something … our fried was ill …. the anxiety was not the the students alone…

Like all grand things .. like Jazz … it is the harmony between the keys … the silence in the the cracks …

PS. In truth we were serious people. And we loved wine … how it moved from earth to table, created ambiance and moved us to other places. (one of the stories is related in the wine piece else where on the site.)

610.346.8538 Splintercottage@aol.com use is restricted and by permission only

for the moment, I reprint the digital imprint of one of the book cover Portraits, after being entirely fed up on theft and arrogance taught to graphic “artists” . And the “interns” working on volumes that will be used for “training”. Much erroneous.


The very last image, indeed the very last time I saw Jacques. Tell the full story in a bit. The 37th frame is always the last frame one could squeeze out on a film spool of 36 exposures. The camera jamming empty is an unforgotten moment for journalists. One of the reasons I always worked with 3 cameras. Memory serves I saw the young student hold the nose mask up and raised a leica to eye … saw Fay & Jacques as he opened the door and recomposed.

detail from the above. something I never do. there was always some metaphysical understanding in Lecoq … found by searching . Jacques was leaving his last graduation, his school , “ma femme” et famile … , carrying the neutral masks in their Drs Bag.

Chris and I left for Corsica. I returned sick with an ear infection … I dropped some materials at their flat … Chris took them up. Jacques was fighting cancer and I surely refused to add problems …

In a world formed by 30 second television ads, learned academic cliché, repetition… Lecoq was such a relief.

We didn’t get here, do all this travel, go to all this trouble to become dopes. Or be swindled by desinforatsia. Is all about critical thinking and the integration of (our) senses… Sensuality and intelligence.

The photographs are full frame 35 mm Fujichromes … as good as any found in the world. They need no help from thoughtless “experts” exercising professorial control. (or interns about to become “experts”. I did not have their “help” when I did and self funded the work … which represents the philosophy of a professional life time in the Lecoq content and and my manner of reportage. Both based upon life & movement.

Years back, my dear friend Edith Leonian, then Presidnet of SPAR (Society of Photographer &Artist Representatives), said to me: “Scott .. your work is very good and unlike anyone elses … don’t let it be ruined by art directors trade school educations…” Well here we are. Education has become computer repeating; much communication pasting of legalism and deception. I think of the grand artists in design I worked with … and realise how had it will be to get back. I should mention that for years I announced IBM’s technical advances from chips to fiber optic transmission. Quality should have increased, and would have, if the learning centers had a regard for quality. My regards to those and all who do.

copyright H SCOTT HEIST 15/ SplinterCottage.com credit is mandatory. reproduction without credit is subject to a billing of at least three times agreee fees, reproduction without permission is a violation of copyright laws. splinter cottage projects contact via email : splintercottage@aol.com place photo rights in bar all rights reserved to all text copy and materials no use including copying of any sort is allowed without written permission. © H Scott Heist 2015 / SplinterCottage.com Caption after rights statement Rights of copy right, concept, use as trademarks and other other forms of intellectual & physical property are reserved and available via written permission.

Caption: Proposed cover photograph for an essay entitled: “The Hand of the Master: Jacques Lecoq …& the theatre of movement.” The original essay was built for a magazine for Lehigh University. That work became the base of a much larger documentary extending over years including carte blanch at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in St Denis in Paris, the Lecoq homes in Paris and the countryside. Culmination in the graduation of the last class Jacques would teach himself. That essay is called ..”A last Class.” Material has been exhibited many ties and prints are part of the permanent collections of Museums, private collections and Universities . Publication from the essay has included Covers for NY Times Sunday Arts, Total Theatre UK, American Theatre. We were friends.

© h scott heist 20/SplinterCottage.com.

© 2020 H. Scott Heist – All Intellectual Property Rights Reserved

This work is the property and creation of H. Scott Heist and rights are reserved. Splinter Cottage, The View From Splinter Cottage, the NOIR CHRONICLES, TastefullyCheeky, ObliviAn, Perplexitudes &Quizzicals and Every Day is a Short Story are trademarks in use for many years. Rights are similarly reserved and use is only by written permission.

Please note: This is a work in progress that my combine work from multiple projects over multiple year and many technologies. (and programs plus pens). Working to make all compatible, sometime making corrections a programs are open across multiple publications. Work in progress means still correction and gathering. All rights and ownership of the material itself has been mine from the beginning and remains so today.