New Images For Old Ideas – Leonard Cohen Photos By Dominique Issermann

While I’ve previously posted the photo atop this post and the one immediately below, both of which Sony has released as part of the marketing campaign for Leonard Cohen’s forthcoming Old Ideas album, I was only able today [Jan 5, 2012, the original posting date] to confirm they were indeed taken by Dominique Issermann. It seems only right to re-post them as a belated Credit Due Department item. Besides, it’s as good a rationale as any to offer these nifty shots again.

The Dominique Issermann photo shown below  has also been used in the Old Ideas promotion, but it has been previously published at least as early as August 24, 2009 when it illustrated State of Grace – Leonard Cohen’s Sasha Frere-Jones (New Yorker).

Originally posted Jan 5, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Then We Take Trouville: Making Of The Leonard Cohen-Dominique Issermann First We Take Manhattan Music Video


Then We Take Trouville

This quirky, entertaining, little-seen video, featuring Joe Cocker’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “First We Take Manhattan,” documents, as the YouTube description has it, “the making of the music video “First we take Manhattan then we take Berlin” of Leonard Cohen directed by Dominique Issermann in 1988.” It offers lots of shots of Leonard and Dominique Issermann producing a film in the rain.

Then We Take Trouville

The First We Take Manhattan Video

The final version of the video produced for First We Take Manhattan is embedded below.

Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Esther Park, who alerted me to this video.

Note: Originally posted Aug 29, 2009 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: 1985 Backstage Banter Starring Anjani, Directed By Dominique Issermann – Leonard Cohen, Cameraman


Musical Of Backstage Lives Of Artists On Tour Opens Off-Broadway To Mixed Reviews

This teaser features Leonard Cohen as videographer, Anjani Thomas in pseudo-rant, and Dominique Issermann directing. An unrecognized (by me) cast member provides comic relief. The scene deteriorates when, in  a room full of musicians, no one knows the words to “Dominique.”

From German Documentary ‘Halleluja in Moll’ (1985)
Video from messalina79

An alternative version of “Dominique” follows:

Soeur Sourire Plays And Sings Dominique (1963)
Video from riccardobruero

Video By Dominique Issermann: “Moments of” Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas


Leonard Cohen’s Music – Dominique Issermann’s Images

This video is a sequence of vignettes, all shot and directed by Dominique Issermann on her iPhone, for  eight of the songs on the Old Ideas album. These range from slideshows of Leonard Cohen photographs taken by Issermann to video sequences over which Leonard Cohen sings but in which he does not appear. The vignettes themselves are in black and white although the title inserts are in color.

There is, as well, the occasional product placement.


This video is also available on  the Leonard Cohen iPhone app and was discussed in the Leonard Cohen – There Once Was An App For That: Review Of The 2012 Leonard Cohen iPhone App/

Leonard Cohen “Moments of” Old Ideas
By Dominique Issermann


Note: Originally posted Aug 30, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Yes, I was the woman from I’m Your Man” – Dominique Issermann Talks About Leonard Cohen


I never have believed that there was a parallel world
more interesting than the real world.

The Dominique Issermann Interview

The excerpt is from Champ Libre by Anne Diatkine (Le Temps, 25 June 2012). The French to English translation was made possible by Coco Éclair. I have placed Dominique Issermann’s words in bold italics for the convenience of readers.

She noted that, even setting Leonard [Cohen] aside, she hadn’t photographed just  women. It is enormously false, look [showing me another photo] – Gérard Depardieu before Going Places.

Leonard Cohen is, however, one of the only recurring men who is not photographed like a reflection in a mirror, but in the process of moving, that is to say, dreaming, writing, putting on his shoes, doing nothing, in short, living.  She says: Yes, I was the woman from I’m Your Man [the I’m Your Man album is dedicated to her], which I would have never thought to mention publicly if some biographies weren’t out.  I learned that he was very depressed when we met on Hydra.  I wasn’t at all aware of it, we laughed so much.”  How does the story end?  “In one fell swoop.  Like water flowing from a basin.

Dominique Issermann is not chronological.  My love affairs are my only timekeeper.  I forget the dates of the last decade.  I could say:  “This picture was when I was with such and such person.”  When there is no love, I am incapable of situating myself in time.

She just finished the clips of Leonard Cohen’s last album with an iPhone.  It’s a little magic box.  It allows me to become what I wanted to be as a child. 1

Credit Due Department: Photo by Dominique BOILE

Note: Originally posted July 8, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Excerpt in original French follows:

    La troisième, c’est la fidélité: qu’elles s’appellent Anne Rohart, Isabelle Adjani ou Laetitia Casta, qu’elles soient connues ou pas, les mêmes personnes reviennent, de décennie en décennie. Quand elle lie amitié, elle ne rompt pas. On lui fait remarquer qu’elle n’a photographié que des femmes, à part Leonard Cohen. «C’est archi faux, regardez. Gérard Depardieu avant Les Valseuses.» Leonard Cohen est cependant l’un des seuls hommes récurrents, qui ne soit pas photographié en reflet dans un miroir, mais en train d’agir, c’est-à-dire de rêver, d’écrire, de mettre ses chaussures, de ne rien faire, bref, de vivre. Elle dit: «Oui, j’ai été la femme de I’m Your Man [titre d’un album qui lui est dédié, ndlr], ce que je n’aurais jamais pensé évoquer publiquement si des biographies n’étaient pas sorties. J’y ai appris qu’il était très déprimé quand on s’est rencontrés à Hydra. Je n’en avais aucune conscience, on riait tellement.» Comment s’arrête une histoire? «D’un seul coup. Comme l’eau qui s’écoule d’un bassin.»

    Dominique Issermann n’est pas chronologique. «Mes aventures amoureuses sont ma seule horloge. J’oublie les dates à une décennie près. Je pourrais dire: «Cette photo-là, c’était quand j’étais avec telle personne.» Quand il n’y a pas d’amour, je suis incapable de me repérer.» Elle vient de terminer les clips du dernier album de Leonard Cohen avec un iPhone. Quitte à laisser tomber l’argentique, autant changer radicalement de support. «C’est la petite boîte magique. Elle me permet de devenir ce que je voulais être enfant.» []