Serge Jacques was the master of French erotic photography throughout the ’50s and ’60s.
Despite very rigid morality legislation, a multitude of so-called “charming” publications were born: Paris Hollywood, Venus, Paris Tabou, Enquêtes, Frou-frou , Régal, Sensations, adorned the Parisian kiosks although they were prohibited from display and consultation.
This new market is carried by the aspiration to freedom which manifests itself from the Liberation and will last for many years afterwards. Demand is high, photographers few: Serge de Sazo , Marcel Véronese , then later André Bellorgey and Rolland Carré will be the other charming photographers who will share most of the French production during a twenty years.
A romantic escapade on the Normandy coast will be the occasion of his first nude studies . This report quickly published by the magazine V Magazine will encourage him to continue this activity. Rather academic in nature, his early work remains classical, but he quickly evolves towards a more natural and narrative style. In the studio, he had decorations painted by the illustrator Maurice Pinault, giving his series a character of Parisian lightness and futility that would become his trademark.
Serge Jacques will then begin a regular collaboration with the magazine Paris-Hollywood , renamed Folies de Paris and Hollywood in 1953 ; it would remain the benchmark French charming publication until the mid-1960s.
Intended for a more demanding public than that of magazines, we see the appearance of collections of albums of academic nudes , in quarto format and of finer print quality, published among others by Veronese . Until 1968 , French legislation remained very restrictive with regard to the dissemination of images considered to be licentious. Publications are closely monitored by censorship which absolutely prohibits the representation of sex and body hair.
Publications in which nudes appear are prohibited for sale to minors , consultation and display, even when they take shelter behind naturism , which some publishers will make a specialty of. To circumvent these constraints, photographers and editors systematically retouch the shots, sometimes by smoothing the private parts with an airbrush, sometimes by adding underwear with a retouching brush.
His knowledge of German and English allows him to present his work to foreign journals in Europe and on the other side of the Atlantic . This network will open its production to foreign magazines from the end of the fifties. This notoriety acquired in export will allow him to realize his shots abroad and in particular in the American West .
Printing techniques evolving towards offset and color, he gradually abandoned black and white and his development and printing activity. The photographic material is also changing, the 24×36 , lighter, more manageable, but imposing new framing constraints, gradually succeeds the historic format of the 6×6 . This technological shift is accompanied by changes in legislation and will also mark the end of the careers of a good number of its competitors from the Folies Paris-Hollywood era. The newspaper itself will not survive it.
A generation of new publishers and the emergence of young photographers are updating the vision of charming photography with a new approach . He will be for some an assiduous contributor, but it is for the British press group Paul Raymond that he concentrates most of his work , producing massively the photographic content of its magazines.
In order not to tire his public or his publishers, he surrounds himself with many assistants who feed his production capacity.
From Rita Renoir to Brigitte Lahaie , the muses of several generations will pass in front of her lens. This longevity will end at the dawn of the nineties. With the rise of video and then the appearance of the Internet , the boundaries between eroticism and pornography are blurred and will sound the death knell for old-fashioned glamor photography .