Jean-François Fogel was our number-one mentor at spiritshunters.com
Jean-François was a renaissance man, one of a kind, an oolong tea drinker who loved literature, poetry, the press, birds, politics, and technology, and loved to talk relentlessly about Barcelona and South America and we miss him already.
Jean-François was more than a colleague or advisor, he was our mentor at SpiritsHunters.com
Our relationship was more than professional after 32 years, he became a real friend and today I am so sad that he has suddenly passed away.
Our entire staff would like to express their deepest sympathy and condolences.
When I decided to launch Spirit Hunters, an international 360° online media about spirits in 7 languages, he was with us on this journey from the very beginning.
Today we wish to thank him as I have already done in person many times before as I always knew how precious his advice was.
Every time we would take a bold initiative he would call to congratulate us and comment on how to always be ahead of the game as a digital media. He would be so encouraging, he was all in as learning and exploring were always so important for him and his students.
JFF would say “Nul n’est prophète en son pays” (No man is a prophet in his own land!).
As the start-up began to work, he said “I told you it would work!” with his smiling eyes.
A real dandy, a gentleman, an open-minded person, there was a worldly way about him, he thought like a citizen of the world.
Our professional friendship was not always a quiet one as we would often disagree but he would listen and say “let me think about it” always in English. He spoke fluent English, Spanish, and Catalan.
With time it was the quietest most thoughtful friendship of all.
Just last week, JFF said he was cleaning out his computer and wanted to finally print out this little book of quotes -Mostly very funny ones !- but he needed my help; I was really happy to do this with him.
He loved to laugh and that was our real bond: laughing and poetry.
One day he knew I was sad and he gave me a poetry book by W.H. Auden.
This very well-known poem came to mind as I find it quite accurate on how we all feel a bit like orphans today.
Funeral blues, by W.H. Auden
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with a muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
I met Jean-François Fogel in 1995
We first met at Libération doing the layout for “L’Atlas du Rugby”, a magazine on rugby co-edited by Libération and Midi Olympique.
It was in 1991 for the second Rugby World Cup. We worked with Christian Jaurena, Jacky Gourlaouen, from liberation, and Henry Nayrou, Jacques Verdier, and Serge Manificat for Midi Olympique.
When I told him I knew nothing about rugby he said, “no worries – after you finish this magazine you will know plenty, just make a great layout.”
In 1995, he asked me to redesign the French newspaper “Le Monde”.
He was the thinker behind the new 1995 “Le Monde”.
It was our first big project together. I was a little worried as it was also my first very big project and when telling him he said, “don’t worry, I know you can do this!” for it to be a success he knew he had to “maîtriser“* every aspect of the process.
*Translator’s note: to master
He worked hand in hand with Jean-Marie Colombani and Edwy Plenel to find the right balance between changing the newspaper editorials and making sure the readers would not reject them. The density of the page has to be the same but everything else has changed.
He thoroughly studied the software we were to use for the layout printing and editing with Eric Azan and José Bolufer.
The very day the new “Le Monde” came out he wrote that digital was going to take over paper and that newspapers were going to die.
Always way ahead of his time!
Never complain, never explain. That was your favorite motto!
So I am not complaining but I do miss you already, we all miss you already.
Thank you for the photos! Libération / Livres Hebdo / DR / Twitter @NataliaAlgarinS
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy Responsibly.
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