J. Lejards is something of an enigma, since little is known about him, not even what his initial stands for.
What is known is that around the time of the First World War, he was active in West Africa working for Pathé: the earliest work on which his name appears and of which we are aware is Danses soudanaises. This shows Dogon masked dancing, probably at Sangha in the Bandiagara Cliffs, in present-day Mali. This has been dated to 1915, though it would seem to have been shot in the same place and on the same occasion as the very interesting film Danses habés which has been dated to as early as 1913. However, this also appears in a Pathé catalogue as part of package of films released in 1922.
This latter date fits in better with the dates attributed to other Pathé films shot in West Africa on which Lejards name appears, such as La Ville de Djenné (1921) and Passage de rivière au Togo française (1922-23).
Lejards’ name then appears again as the director (along with a certain Monsieur Brut), of Á Travers la Cochinchine et le Cambodge, which is dated in the Pathé-Gaumont archives catalogue to 1925. In 1930, the same catalogue indicates, he was involved in making another Pathé film, this time in Andorra.
The photograph of the ‘reporter Lejards’ (above) was published in Ciné Magazine no.7 in 1933, though it is not clear when the photograph was actually taken. However, it seems very likely that it was taken while he was shooting the sequence in the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh that features in Á Travers la Cochinchine et le Cambodge, probably in 1924 or 1925. (Many thanks to Joëlle Hauzeur for supplying this image).