In memoriam: A Love Letter from Emilie Blachère to Rémi Ochlik

Rémi Ochlik et Emilie Blachère

Rémi Ochlik et Emilie Blachère


I’ve never found it so difficult to write. My dictionaries are useless. I can already hear you saying, “Sweet Blachère.” So instead I made a list of everything I loved about you.

My angel, my love:

I loved it when you made lists of things you wanted, and you wanted a Harley Davidson, a loft, a 22,000-euro titanium Leica, and you would say to me, “What? You work at Paris Match, don’t you?”

I loved it when you called me Blachère, or Blacherounette, when you had something you wanted to ask me….




We were prepared for everything, except for the worst. Ochlik, I don’t know how I can go on without you. In Rome, you told me, “love is a weakness.” You were wrong. Today I feel strong. At Christmas you gave me a notebook and told me to, “write down the story of our lives and read it to our kids.” I promise that I will tell the story of that life we dreamed of so often, a life that I’m now going to have to live for two.

I’m not sure if you miss me, Ochlik. I miss you. Madly……”


Read it in full on Le Journal de la Photographie but better still listen to the author speak it in person on BBC Radio 4, ‘Broadcasting House’ which is available on BBC iPlayer here. It is at 54 mins in, but listen to the end, and to the presenter’s response.


The power of radio. The power of love.

Author — John Macpherson

John MacPherson was born and lives in the Scottish Highlands. He trained as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, before completing an apprenticeship as a carpenter, and then qualified as a Social Worker in Disability Services. Along the way he has cooked on canal barges, trained as an Alpine Ski Leader & worked as an Instructor for Skiers with disabilities, been a canoe instructor, and tutor of night classes in carpentry, stained glass design and manufacture, and archery. He has travelled extensively on various continents, undertaking solo trips by bicycle, or motorcycle. He has had narrow escapes from an ambush by terrorists, been hit by lightning, caught in an erupting volcano, trapped in a mobile home by a tornado, kidnapped by a dog's hairdresser, rammed by a basking shark and was once bitten by a wild otter. He has combined all this with professional photography, which he has practised for over 35 years. He teaches photography and acts as a photography guide & tutor in the UK and abroad. His biggest challenge is keeping his 27 year old Land Rover 110 on the road. He loves telling and hearing stories.

Discussion (6 Comments)

  1. tonemeister says:

    I read it. Very moving. Haven’t listened to it yet. This story also appears in today’s Torygraph and the response of some of the bloggers to Paddy O’Connell’s emotion is cold (and one idiot even criticised Emilie’s English). I remember O’Connell as part of BBC World’s business news programmes (understudy to Richard Quest before be buggered off to CNN) back in the day. He also chairs debates at the Frontline Club. Always seemed a decent enough card to me. Got off topic there, methinks. Anyway, thanks for the link.

    • Hi Tony – there’s a cohort of forum users who are to be honest, just dim trollers whose lives are so vacuous they need to stimulate outrage to get their five minutes of fame. Best ignored in the greater scheme of things. Like it or loathe it, it was a moment of honesty, and thats becoming a rare commodity these days and should be welcomed when it manifests.

    • duckrabbit says:

      Hi Tony,

      I know Paddy a little bit.

      Very decent man.

  2. tonemeister says:

    John, agreed.

    Duck, I’ve never met Paddy but I’ve always had that impression about him.

  3. sabrina says:

    I had read the letter earlier and posted a link to it on my Tumblr mini-blog but it pales in comparison to Emilie reading it out loud and the response of the presenter. I shall add a link to this post to my original one. Thank you.

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