Oaxaca, Oaxaca 1996
"My first encounter with Jocelyne occurred while I was living and working as a commercial photographer in Akron, Ohio. I think it was 1992, and I had recently returned from Morocco where I was shooting at a blind school outside of Fes. I can't remember the magazine but I came across this article about photojournalism and there was an interview with Jocelyne. I thought, what the hell, I'll send her my personal work since I was working on my own. To my frustration I could not find a phone number or address anywhere for JB. I called a friend who at the time was working at the Philly Enquirer and he passed on her information. So off I sent my package of images. Time passed and I completely forgot about the entire thing. One day while in the darkroom I get this call: "John Lucas please." "Speaking." "This is Jocelyne Benzakin. Who sent you?!" It was a rather harsh tone and I was completely taken aback but I gathered myself and we had a nice chat. She wondered how I got her phone number since it was unpublished and she was impressed that I spelled her first and last name correctly.
I visited Jocelyne at JB a few times and eventually moved to NY in 1996. When she moved to Wainscott and opened her gallery in Sag Harbor she began showing my work. We shared some amazing meals and evenings at her home with local friends and her cat " the terrorist". Conversation about food would come up and I'll never forget how I showed up once with rose water and merguez sausages and she was the happiest I had ever seen her.
On March 24th I emailed Jocelyne asking for Gilles Peress's email. She emailed it back and I emailed my thanks. On March 29th I received another email from Jocelyne with Gilles office and cell phone numbers. I continue to go back and reread that email looking for something. I think she just wanted to give me more than I asked for."