Shane at 19, 1998
"Jocelyne and I met over a sad, heartbreaking occasion -- the death of Gad Gross in Iraq in 1991. He was like a son to her, like many of her photographers who were practically surrogate children. To me, Gad was a brilliant light whom I had just met in Romania, and with whom I had madly fallen for. I was in shock, confused, and young. Jocelyne was there for me, a stranger, from the first anxious phone call, willing to listen, to comfort, and to share her own losses. What struck me about Jocelyne then, and in the years that followed, as she became a friend, mentor, agent and inspiration, was her endless passion and absolute honesty. She exuded passion in every gesture: the way she smoked and exhaled, flipped through a portfolio, consumed music, pushed back her unruly hair, even the way she petted a much loved cat. As a fellow female, prone to shyness, I admired this strong woman with verve. Jocelyne was the shit, but she could also scare the shit out of me; she was tough, opinionated, and could send me home crying. But underneath, she deeply cared, and if she believed in you and your vision, she was there two hundred percent, pushing you to push yourself, to determinedly produce the kind of work that you did best, sometimes whether it would make money or not.
One weekend in the late '90s, I visited Jocelyne in Sag Harbor. She showed me the gallery, the town, her favorite restaurant -- where we sat at the bar and drank and ate too much -- and then put me to bed in her guest room. She seemed content in her new life, post-JB, yet at the same time, she seemed to feel forgotten by many of us photographers whom she had nurtured young and then let loose to fly. But maybe it was just my interpretation through the blur of the wine.
For more than a decade, I have continued to work on a project -- following one boy in small-town America - a project that Jocelyne had originally encouraged me to carry on. We had not been in touch for a few years, but I looked forward to showing her a finished book in the future, and thanking her immensely for her vital support. Jocelyne's initial belief in me, in the echo of that raspy voice and lovely accent, is what kept me going so many times when I had thought of quitting. Unfortunately though, I did not finish in time.
When I heard Jocelyne had died on March 31, the date was startling. Gad too had died at the end of March, and for a number of years she and I had exchanged flowers or calls on the anniversary of his death. Her passing too at this time seemed strange, yet soothingly fitting. I imagined them both enjoying a late-spring night, catching up in their exuberant ways, and laughing and debating the night away. But also, I felt this great passionate urge to scream out my door, so loud that she would be bound to hear, a huge and loving THANK YOU; I know that I never said it enough."