Has our perception of photojournalism since the 1960s changed? Have the status and distribution of these images (from the press to the museum) changed? Heritage, creation, information – these different values of photojournalism now require new lines of enquiry, access to sources long kept for professional use only, and attention to the discourses of the photographers themselves.
The published images are only a tiny fraction of the available resources: whole continents of forgotten photographs lie in photographers’ and agencies’ archives. The transition to digital has relegated to the bottom drawer the piles of prints that once served to distribute an image. These photographic archives are a treasure but also a burden, a patrimonial and logistical challenge. They raise singular problems: from the negative to the magazine via the contact sheet, photographs are not isolated objects: they travel and become parts of distribution networks. What should we keep and how? Is there a third way for photography, between archival storage and the museum approach?
The stories of reporters’ adventures, and the critical deconstruction of the myths relating to their profession, can now be extended by a new approach, based on the exploration of these archives. What kind of archaeological study might put to good use the riches of these continents of unsuspected images?
This symposium brings together and compares the viewpoints of historians of photography, directors of patrimonial institutions and photographers. The discussions in the morning will bear on practical initiatives, based on the efforts of young foundations to preserve and valorise these photographic archives. In the afternoon the photographers will talk about how they view the future of their work and forms of access to their archives. We will also consider the issues implied by digital technology and the legal problems raised by these archives.
Study day organised by the Doctoral School of Art History at Université Paris 1 Panthéon–Sorbonne and Jeu de Paume on the occasion of the exhibition “Gilles Caron, le conflit intérieur,” shown at the Château de Tours to 2 November.
Michel Poivert, art historian, professor and director of the Doctoral School of Art History at Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.
Clara Bouveresse, a PhD student at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, whose thesis is on the history of the Magnum agency since its creation in 1947.
Patrick Chauvel, photographer and war reporter, documentary maker and writer.
Alexis Fournol, lawyer specialising in intellectual property rights and teacher at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
Audrey Leblanc, PhD student at EHESS, with a thesis on “The Image and Narrative of May 68.”
Paul Lowe, photographer and course director for MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, at the University of the Arts, London.
Patrick Peccatte, director of a structure dedicated to XML technologies applied to digital text and images, associate researcher at the Laboratoire d’Histoire Visuelle Contemporaine (Lhivic/EHESS) and member of the editorial board of CultureVisuelle.org.
Dominique Versavel, curator of 20th-century photography at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
In the auditorium on Saturday 18 October at 10:30. Three euros/free with your exhibition ticket (same day only) and for members of Jeu de Paume, subject to capacity.