Gilles Villeneuve

Circuit Zolder, May 8th, 1982.
Circuit Zolder, May 8th, 1982.

Nobody expected it. These were just qualifying laps, the day before a Grand Prix, and besides they were already finished, the drivers had all eased up on the gas pedal. Except one, Gilles Villeneuve. The accident had just happened. In the press room, the journalists had stood up. From the silent screens, they followed every move of the first-aid team, sure that they would pull the young pilot back up onto his feet. The seconds ticked by. Too many. And, like a shadow, a thought rears its head, one that is refuted. As if to block it or unmask it, I seize this instant, this tipping point, when we already know but cannot yet believe. When the unimaginable imposes itself and grips you by the throat. One girl has understood, the first. She has turned her back to the screens and brought her hand to her mouth.

Personne ne s’y attendait. Ce n’était qu’une séance d’essai, une veille de Grand Prix, et d’ailleurs elle était terminée, les pilotes avaient tous levé le pied. Sauf un, Gilles Villeneuve. L’accident venait d’avoir lieu. Dans la salle de presse, les journalistes se sont levés. Sur les écrans silencieux, ils suivent les gestes des secouristes qui vont, à n’en pas douter, relever le jeune pilote. Les secondes s’égrènent. Trop. Alors, comme une ombre, surgit une pensée que l’on refuse. Comme pour l’arrêter ou le démasquer, je saisis cet instant, ce point de basculement, quand l’on sait déjà mais qu’on ne croit pas encore. Quand l’inimaginable s’impose et vous serre la gorge. Une fille a compris, la première. Elle a tourné le dos aux écrans et porté la main à sa bouche.

This image is related to : Photojournal.


Subscribe to The Wednesday Shot

Every wednesday, I will be posting a new image.
Suscribe and you’ll receive a photography like this one, each week, in your mailbox, whether you’ve been nice or not.