For its first post-Covid edition, the Parliament of Photography has kept all its promises. On the programme: Ukraine, public commission, the future of photography, etc.

The Parliament of photography, this body designed by the Ministry of Culture to offer a space for debate to professionals in the sector, has never been so well named. This year, it was an extraordinary session on all floors, judging by the timeliness, sometimes burning, of the many topics that mobilized participants. Starting with the war in Ukraine, the photographic commission and the highly anticipated presentation of Laurence Franceschini’s report on the financing of the production and dissemination of photographic works, three highlights that we will return to.

However, the urgency was by no means the only reason for interest in this third edition, the first post-Covid, which was held on June 7 and 8 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. The abundance of programming – and the great richness of the quality topics and presentation formats: round tables, speeches, debates, presentations, courses, exhibitions…– This is a testament to the success of this edition.


Photographing the war in Ukraine

In the Parliament of photography, the war in Ukraine was in everyone’s mind. It was also on the walls of the Palais de Tokyo, where you could see a striking display designed by Kateryna Radchenko, director of the country’s only photographic festival, Odesa Photo Days. Among the photographs presented in the exhibition Foreshore, we discover a vision at the same time historical and metaphorical of Ukraine before the war: a woman strapped as still life by Elena Subach, unusual pigeonniers inscribed in the urban landscape of Kiev by Oleksandr Navrotskyi, the melancholy of the Tatars who joined continental Ukraine after Alina Smutko’s 2014 invasion of Crimea by Russia…

This exhibition, one of the thirteen Stand with Ukraine », the support program of the Ministry of Culture and the French Institute for the Ukrainian Photographic Scene implemented by the Diagonal network, does justice to the vitality of photographic creation in Ukraine. “ We mobilized to help Ukrainian photographers in the early hours of the Russian invasionstresses Eric Sinatora, co-chair of the Diagonal network. This meant allowing them to continue working in their country and to make the festival live in France Odesa Photo Days”. “ In this cycle, says Kateryna Radchenko, we gathered images of artists who had never had the opportunity to work in a war situation. We are using every means possible to disseminate this work and restore the narrative of what is happening ».

Parlement de la photographie 2022 : table-ronde sur l'Ukraine

Restore a “ narrative » history against all odds, it is the whole issue of Ukrainian photography, which, according to Kateryna Radchenko, « has never ceased to be invisibilized, from the Soviet era to the present period». " When there is no more evidence of history, it is even more possible to rewrite history Boris Mikhaylov, leader of the visual revolution initiated by the young photographers of Kharkiv in the 1960s, Arsen Savadov and his series «Donbass-Chocolate» or Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit, the «Ukrainian Vivian Maier», a former political prisoner in Siberia, who made some 4000 prints documenting thirty years of the life of a village in the west of the country.

Bring ' evidence ” is also the work of the many photojournalists on the ground, including Ukrainians, of course (“ they are familiar with the context ") and foreigners (" 3000 accreditations have been granted ). Their specificity? « Show war from different angles », according to Kateryna Radchenko. As such, the testimony of three French photoreporters, Laurence Geai, Chloé Sharrock and Lucas Barioulet, who covered the conflict for the newspaper Le Monde, is particularly interesting. What impresses above all is the surgical precision of their approach, which leaves nothing to chance: protective equipment, security, role of the fixer ", coordination with the editor, perspectives…" Everything is multiplied on a battlefield, be it emotions, the stakes, stresses Lucas Barioulet. I also found it very interesting to document everyday life and not just focus on the front line After this experience, the three photoreporters all intend to return to the front without hesitation » with a single goal: to bear witness.


Photographic control at the time of the health crisis  

In the midst of a health crisis, the previous edition of the Parliament of photography The impact of Covid on the world of photography was widely echoed. This year, the subject was discussed from the point of view of public procurement, one of the ways of supporting professionals. It is clear that the number of outstanding public photographic commissions underway today cannot be dissociated from the significant mobilization of public actors, starting with the Ministry of Culture and its operators who provide constant support to photographers, particularly through the France Relance scheme.    

However, this dimension is not the only explanation for this craze for the photographic commission. Since the birth of photography, public commissions, these real markers of aesthetics and generations », according to art critic Guy Tortosa, are essential in the ecosystem of photography. It is only to remember the heliographic mission previously entrusted to Prosper Mérimée or the photographic mission of DATAR, between 1984 and 1988, whose objective was to represent the French landscape of the 1980s. Today, their names are: New worlds ", the program launched under the stimulus package, " Radioscopy of France », designed by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, « Perspectives on the greater Paris », a co-production between the Ateliers Médicis and the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap), one of the major players in public commissions, or Image 3.0 » with the Cnap and the Jeu de Paume in Reims.

Parlement de la photographie 2022 : la commande publique

Where does this shared – and fruitful – interest between the photographer and the sponsor come from? Several avenues are being considered. “ The control, reports to Pascal Beausse, Head of the Photography Collection at the Centre national des arts plastiques, is an invitation to artists to work on the basis of a trigger: the call for projects », which leads them to « work differently », even to change from « role The most emblematic case is that of Christian Boltanski who, in response to an order from Oiron Castle, “ turned into a school photographer for four years ” recalls Pascal Beausse. Another interesting case cited by Pascal Beausse is that of the “Image 3.0” command, designed “ as a place of experimentation against formatting ». The artist Raphaël Dallaporta who approached the mathematicians of the Ecole Normale Supérieure for his project on facial recognition confirms: it allows us to articulate a project and gives us the means to step aside from our usual practice ».

Sometimes, a public order can be an opportunity to develop a project over the long term. This is the case of «Regards sur le Grand Paris», which accompanies, for a period of ten years (2016-2022), this long-running urban project at the rhythm of a commission to six photographers per year. From 24 June, an exhibition created in partnership with the Ateliers Médicis, the General Stores and the Société du Grand Paris, will present the works of the first five years of the order. These include the projects of Alassan Diawara on the Navigo pass, Baudoin Mouanda on the community of Sapeurs, or Hannah Darabi and Benoît Grimbert who followed and photographed six students in their practices.

Finally, ordering may be of interest to a particular segment of the profession. This is the case of «Radioscopy of France», launched by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, which is intended for photojournalists. Falling under ' a political time ", representing " one component of support for the press sector », says Héloïse Conésa, in charge of the photography collection, it brings together the views of photographers on a country affected by the health crisis and by identity tensions The will was to “ consider a commission that would bring together a large number of photographers ». Out of a total budget of €5.46 million, €4.4 million has been allocated exclusively to photographers who have each received €22,000, and a million has been earmarked for the promotion of exhibitions.


A sustainable ambition for the photography sector

It was a much awaited moment of this edition of the Parliament of photography: the presentation by Laurence Franceschini, State Councillor, of the report commissioned by the Ministry of Culture on the financing of the production and dissemination of photographic works. Based on 55 interviews with industry professionals, this report highlights the concerns of the profession. “ The dominant feeling among those involved in the sector, increased by what was observed in other sectors perceived as more supported, was that photography was not taken into account enough by public authorities. », observes Laurence Franceschini, who does not forget, among the causes of this discomfort, « a market that has been transformed in favour of large agencies » and « an impact of the digital revolution whose effects can be devastating ».

Parlement de la photographie 2022 : présentation du rapport Franceschini

Faced with these concerns, Laurence Franceschini recommends the establishment of a ambitious, sustainable and comprehensive policy » for the sector, which is based on five axes: respect for copyright, support for creation, support for places of dissemination, protection of photographic heritage and support for image education. On the subject of copyright, she argues that a new alliance between the sectors of photography and the press at the end of which the conventional commitments of the press publishers would be strengthened ». Regarding support for creation, she cites in particular support for women photographers and the promotion of the French scene abroad. As for specific support for the various actors in the chain, ' it takes resolute action for all those who accompany the photographers Laurence Franceschini does not fail in this regard to commend the work of the Diagonal Network, “ unique network in France and emphasize the importance of supporting festivals. The protection of photographic heritage is “ marble-written » now, since the Architecture and Heritage Library has become the Heritage and Photography Library. Finally, with regard to image education, the “Entre les images” programme carried by the Diagonal network should be strengthened, argues Laurence Franceschini. While future developments will call for further action, these proposals, she concludes, are ' a solid base to consider in the long term the development of photography ».

A solid foundation complemented by the information gathered as part of the survey on photography of the Autorité de régulation de la communication audiovisuelle et numérique (Arcom). « In 2020, the global photography market represents nearly 1.4 billion euros ", says Raphaël Berger, its creative director. Three trends are at work in the sector’s transformation: facilitation of filming, increased need for visual content and increased speed of image dissemination In this ecosystem, everything comes together. to guarantee a wide distribution of photography In fact, we live “ in a world of massively shared images », whose social networks, Facebook and Instagram in the lead, are the main actors. What about in this context of copyright? A data already appears reassuring »: « 83% of respondents say they are committed to copyright ».

Parlement de la photographie 2022 : les enjeux de la photo sur internet

However, the issue of photography on the internet is one of the major issues of our time, with two omnipresent issues, « piracy of photos and sharing of value on the internet », analyses Sylvie Fodor, Director General of the European Centre for the Image Industry (CEPIC). Laurence Pécaut-Rivolier, member of the Arcom College, said: we cannot approach the issue of copyright in the same way as in other artistic fields because of the need for identification », the second « that anti-piracy tools must be enhanced ». Stéphanie de Roquefeuil, Director of Public and Legal Affairs of the Union of Professional Photographers (UPP) welcomes the work of Arcom. It welcomes the development of a charter of good practice on the Internet. However, copyright protection is not advancing fast enough ” she regrets. Laurence Franceschini nuanced this opinion: “ Recent copyright directives mark significant progress on metadata and renegotiation with news publishers Marie-Anne Ferry-Fall, Director General of the Adagp, argues for a negotiation that allows creators to be remunerated without delay: Copyright unites creators and broadcasters, we must be uncompromising about the respect of copyright by platforms.” It recalls the historic agreement, the result of a battle of fifteen years ” concluded last year with Google. “ An agreement that will last at least ten years, including a partnership to support authors of visual rights and a copyright-based user license ».

Heritage, publishing, collections… A rich and varied programme


Parlement de la photographie 2022 : conclusion

Among the many topics discussed during this edition, we will also remember the stakes of co-production and circulation of photography exhibitions illustrated notably by the Parallel Network, a European photographic platform, which collaborates artists, curators and places of dissemination; the importance of commercial commission alongside public commission, which is an excellent field of experimentation, particularly because of the new writings made possible by digital technology; the publishing of photography books, essential in the careers of photographers but with fragile economy and for this reason object of all the attentions; the launch shortly of the portal Iconos-photo, initiated by the French Society of Photography, called to become the reference on the history of photography thanks to a set of tools allowing to orient itself in the richness of the French photographic heritage; finally, collections that, everywhere, do not cease to be enriched: the Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation in Besançon, for example, has launched a vast collection at the end of which family photos will integrate its collections, the Musée d'Orsay, under the leadership of Marie Robert, its curator in charge of photography, develops a proactive approach to the acquisition of women photographers including Clementina Hawarden and Anne Brigman.