Frédérique Lengaigne was born in Paris in 1953. After graphic arts studies at ESAG-Penninghen and at Paris’ Ecole des Beaux-Arts, she becomes a photographer working for the press services of Honda and Renault.
In 1985, the British press agency Reuters opens a photo service in Paris and hires her as a press photographer and an editor. In 1987, she is appointed bureau-chief in Brussels and in 1989, chief photographer in Moscow. From 1989 to 1993, the Soviet Union collapses and Eastern Europe is in shambles. The Berlin Wall falls down, the former Soviet republics ask for independence one after the other and Gorbachev’s Perestroika gives way to Yeltsin’s Russian Federation after two failed coup attempts. Leading a team of seven photographers, Frédérique covers most of the events of that period for Reuters.
In spite of the success and all the excitement, Frédérique decides to find more space and time to linger over the events. After many years of “urgent” press photography, she leaves Reuters in 1991 to stay in Moscow and become a freelance photographer, distributing her pictures through Gamma photo agency. Her pictures on the Opium trade in Afghanistan are published in Germany, France and England. In 1996, the French magazine V.S.D. publishes her long-term project “The New Rasputins” on the renewed outbreak of mysticism in Russia after the fall of communism. At that time, press photography goes through deep upheavals with the arrival of digital photography and internet. From the leading role of first witness, photography slowly takes the second part of illustration.
In 1995, Frédérique and Klaus Reisinger, a photographer she met in Moscow in 1991, produce and realize a 12-mn documentary film “The Village of Cooks” later broadcast by Planète in France and Channel Four in the U.K.. In 1997, the French photo agency SYGMA hires her as a junior editor-in-chief to run the news department. A year after, Frédérique and Klaus Reisinger found Compass Films, a film production company based in Paris and she becomes its manager.
After months of scouting and negotiations with the Burmese authorities, they filmed from 1998 to 2000 a 52-mn documentary on wild elephants in Burma, « ELEPHANT POWER » for National Geographic Explorer. From 2000 to 2003, they followed one of the last sea nomads of Burma in the Mergui Archipelago to complete « BURMA’S FORBIDDEN ISLANDS », another 52-mn documentary for National Geographic Explorer.
In 2005 and 2006, Frédérique and Klaus produce and realize “Red Velvet”, a film on maral deer in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. Independently produced by Compass Films Red Velvet is distributed worldwide by NGTI.
In 2006, they started their second project on Asian elephants, including a photo book, an exhibition and a documentary film. “LIFE SIZE MEMORIES “ is their first long format film for cinema produced in cooperation with Austrian Film Institute, ORF, ZDF, ARTE and National Geographic. “LIFE SIZE MEMORIES” will be released in cinemas in Mai 2012.
Frédérique Lengaigne is a writer, a sound engineer and a photographer. She speaks French and English fluently and has a good knowledge of Russian.
2000 Best Educational Program ELEPHANT POWER for National Geographic Explorer, documentary film 52 min - Missoula International wildlife film festival
2004 – Best Film - BURMA’S FORBIDDEN ISLANDS for National Geographic Explorer, documentary film 52 min - International Cultural Film Symposium Montana CINE International Film Festival
2004 - Cine Golden Eagle for Burma's Forbidden Islands
2006 - Best Independent Film - Red Velvet - Montana Cine International Film Festival
2007 - Best Independent Film - Red Velvet - Missoulla International Wildlife Film Festival
2007 - RED VELVET - Finalist in People and Animals Category of the JACKSON HOLE Film Festival.
2011 - LIFE SIZE MEMORIES - Best of Categories Animal Issues - MONTANA CINE USA
2012 - LIFE SIZE MEMORIES - Finalist IWFF USA
2012 - LIFE SIZE MEMORIES - GRAND PRIX NATURVISION FESTIVAL LUDWIGSBURG