that was a really wonderful piece you did about Pierre. I had not spoken with him since the days of Kong, but that man was definitely a big part of what made that day to day experience so special for all involved. his energy, enthusiasm, his sly chuckle made him a living breathing character the likes of which you would only find in written stories. "My Friend" was a rare breed, and I don't just mean a French Canadian in a Montreal Canadiens jersey....cause that is hardly rare...but one all the way over in New Zealand? As a hockey fan that was the thing I noticed. As soon as I saw that I knew he was going to be someone I could at least talk to. I was wrong. We didn't just talk. We laughed. We bonded. We would talk about photography. I used to have a tradition of trying to convince still photographers I work with to develop my film for me, to just throw mine in with the rest. Most would do so begrudgingly. Pierre did it with no questions asked... even though he shot digital. And upon getting my pics back, he took a look at a few of them and gave me some encouragement, along with a good pitch for going digital. Most still photographers rarely show you their work. Pierre was the exact opposite. He loved to show everyone what he was working on. Whether they be crazy Esher-like mind warped like the ones you showed, or more straight forward shots. And yes, I saw quite a few photo's of Naomi. I think it's fair to say that it possible Pierre shot more of Naomi that Peter did. I am saddened to hear of his passing. He was a good man, who loved life, his work, and good laugh. "I tell you my friend...." he will be missed.And then here's Elijah Wood, who spent the better part of 4 years working with Pierre on the Lord of the Rings movies:
I'll never forget the first time that I met Pierre Vinet. So many of us had flown to New Zealand to embark on a journey unlike anything we'd ever experienced. I was introduced to Pierre as our on set stills photographer, and I greeted him with great excitement, telling him that he had the "best job on the film!" His job was that of observer and documentarian for the process of bringing Tolkien's world to life and that unique perspective thrilled me. To be the one to capture this incredible adventure that we were all taking part in and the brilliant artistry and passion of everyone involved, was a privileged opportunity. His enthusiasm and energy was genuinely infectious. "This is ze poster!", he would frequently say, his excitement for the images he was capturing, overflowing. Pierre always made everyone around him smile, no matter how difficult the shoot became or how tired any of us were. The familiar mischievous glint in his eyes, with eyebrows dancing, and lip-pursed chuckle served to inspire anyone around him. I remember often imitating his french canadian accent and signature phrases and chuckles. A true original character. I loved being called into his photo studio set-up for portraits and ideas that he had. He'd grab you and run you over to a blacked out room with his equipment, on a break from filming. His simple portraits outside the context of the set environment, are still some of my favorite images from the films. It was there in his world where, through his lens, he brought the characters that we were playing to life. I hadn't heard that he was sick until I recently visited Wellington and found out just before he passed away. It's still difficult to process. The world has certainly lost a beautiful photographer, but more importantly; a friend, character, family member, eccentric, mad man, husband, and a true light that shone on everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.Thanks guys. I might have one or two more remembrances to post before I put this one to bed. Stay tuned.
Pierre told me over a year ago that he was battling an illness, but he said, "not to worry, I will be there for your next movie, my friend." Always, "my friend" he would say. True. His work speaks for itself and his powerful images were not just "set stills" they were their own works of art. His work would compliment and supplement the film. Pierre would not just document, he would create. I am heartbroken by his passing. Pierre was the one who always kept me smiling during the roughest moments. And I've never met anyone more excited by the visual image. Sometimes when I'd pick a pretty good shot, Pierre would say, "Thank you, my friend, for that image!" We had much more to do and I will miss him dearly.