The ramblings of a Californian, living in Nashville, going to Art School, looking towards the big city...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

French Photo Contest Scandal

I came across this story on Chase Jarvis's blog, and it shocked me a little. I'll let you read the full story and description from Horses Think but suffice to say I don't really know what to think about it. It's not brilliant photography, but perhaps it IS brilliant artwork.

"Paris-Match awarded their annual Grand Prix du Photoreportage Etudiant this week to two French students who submitted a photographic story that apparently presented images documenting the precarious lives of students today and the things they must do to survive.

When the two winners, Guillaume Chauvin and Remi Hubert, both art students at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs of Strasbourg, stood up at the Sorbonne to claim their trophy and prize money, they announced the true nature of their work. The images were not photojournalism but staged images featuring many of their peers.

The winners claimed that the idea was hatched a year ago when they looked at all the work students were competing with for the 2008 prize. They realized that the “world view of this work was limited and seemed more like vacation photographs as opposed to photojournalism. The photographs depicted small children with big wet eyes in order to illustrate the misery abroad.”

Speaking to Le Figaro, Guillaume Chauvin confided that they “wanted to enter the contest in order to show the codes used too often in photojournalism and to prove that something real could be translated into something staged.”

Unfortunately, I could only find this on Le Figaro’s French website and had to use some of my own as well as some automatic translation to get the full gist of the story. If you read French, you can go to Le Figaro to read the rest.

To see the full set of staged photos, go here.


The British Journal of Photography just posted a brief write up about the story."

(Image and Story courtesy of Horses Think.)

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