There are many love movies, but few in which a single scene is capable of condensing the internal debate between passion and adventure versus love for family and fear of monotony. In The Bridges of Madison , when Meryl Streep travels with her husband in a van and sees Clint Eastwood – the actor who plays the photographer who has brought her illusion back and with whom she has fallen in love in three days – exactly that happens. . Streep's trembling hand clinging to the handle that would open the car door and her destiny, her content gesture of anguish biting her lip and looking straight ahead seeing the man she has fallen in love with, while the man is next to her. Good and generous that is her husband, he says it all with two subtle gestures.
Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood in a scene from the movie 'The Bridges of Madison'.
Now that film directed by Clint Eastwood himself, which premiered in 1995, returns to be the news for some facts much less poetic. The veteran photographer who inspired her, David Alan Harvey , 76, an associate of the famous Magnum agency , has voluntarily resigned from his position before the official dismissal from the company he works for due to an alleged case of sexual abuse . The agency's board was about to vote his final expulsion and the one who is a myth of photography in the United States preferred to anticipate the humiliation.
Magnum has published a statement in which he affirms that before Harvey made this decision the agency had already decided to permanently expel him in the absence of a final vote. A fact that is the first time this has happened in its 76-year history. The note reads: "Magnum would like to reiterate its apology to the victims and survivors."
Photographer David Alan Harvey at an event in New York in October 2009. Andy Kropa / Getty
The agency had already suspended David Alan Harvey in December 2020 for the accusations of sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior made public by the Columbia Journalism Review on the 21st of that same month. Eleven women presented their testimonies about the sexual harassment to which the photographer subjected them in a report. These are young women, also photographers, whom the photojournalist offered to be his assistants and to accompany him on his travels.
One of the women who shared her experience was Alicia Vera, a photographer who currently publishes in headlines such as Time or The New York Times . Vera explains that her encounter with Harvey occurred in 2009, when she was 23 years old and was beginning to make her way into the world of photography. It was then that she received the invitation to be David Alan Harvey's assistant. She explains that during a work call on Skype, "at some point he turned off the light and it became clear to me that he was masturbating." In other statements made to The Art Newspaper, Vera shared her feelings about Harvey's resignation at Magnum and her threat to take legal action against the 11 women who accuse him of sexual abuse cases: “Harvey's statements about us lying are extremely hurtful and traumatic, but it doesn't surprise me either. I know deep in my heart that we have spoken the truth and it is something that I have personally suffered for ten years. He has done more damage than he or Magnum could imagine. ”
The report that denounced the events also specifies that in 2009 Magnum was informed of the behavior of his photographer and associate, and that for a decade they did not take any type of measures. But some doubt must have remained in the air or some fact precipitated that in January 2021 the agency hired the lawyer Susie al Qassab, specialized in labor disputes, to investigate the veracity or not of everything that was affirmed in the report that uncovered the Harvey.
The well-known San Francisco-born photojournalist began working with Magnum in 1973 and was a full partner in 1997. But he became a legend for his work for the prestigious National Geographic magazine for 25 years, the same task carried out by the protagonist of The Bridges of Madison , who in the film disembarks in a quiet town in the interior of the United States to take photographs for a coverage of covered bridges in Madison County. The official version has always been that the photographer who makes Meryl Streep fall in love in the film was pure invention, but there has always been an informal version that relates the character to David Alan Harvey.
The film and the novel by Robert James Waller in which It was based , which sold more than 60 million copies, caused many of its readers to inquire in National Geographic about the identity of its protagonist, inquiries that multiplied when its film version hit theaters.