When photojournalism

becomes art photography

We never question the legitimacy of painting and photography in the art world. While photojournalism has already found its place on the world stage, art photography is finding new and more affordable channels thanks to an exclusive partnership with Habitat. 

In the art world, there are countless artists and countless pieces of artwork for sale. Of course, it is important to make a distinction between well-known and up-and-coming artists who exhibit their work on the well-regulated gallery circuit. Awareness of art has increased tenfold thanks to a dynamic cultural policy that aims to make art more accessible to the general public through numerous exhibitions and events (festivals, fairs, museum evenings, studio visits, etc.). If you then add new ways of diffusing art via the Internet e.g. by proposing reproductions of major afterworks then the circuit is complete. In other words, art is becoming more democratic. We see it everywhere: on walls at home and in public places (hotels, restaurants, cafes, etc.) where it is used to personalise decor. The arrival of new online galleries promoting photojournalism as art photography has given rise to much debate in the art world. 

 

© JEWEL SAMAD/AFP - Romules, USA - 26 January 2012.

US president Barack Obama walks towards his car in Romules, Michigan, 26 January 2012.

 

The concept: to sell affordable, numbered large format photographs. In any case, it seems that we have discarded the once ubiquitous poster to replace it with something more sophisticated. "We shouldn't classify art forms as major or minor; photos are taken to be shown and it is clear that there is a real public appetite for these types of shots" explained Olivier Bloud from the Crystal Galerie who is managing the distribution of AFP's photos. And because the goal is to make art photography more accessible and affordable, the Crystal Galerie and Habitat have joined forces! 

© AFP - Suining, China - 27 July 2013.

This image taken on 27 July 2013 shows people trying to cool off in a water park in Suining in Szechuan province in the south-east of China during a heat wave that hit several provinces of China. The China Meteorological Association issued a high temperature warning for several eastern and central provinces. The temperature reached 41°C on 31 July 2013.

© DALE DE LA REY/AFP - Hong Kong, China - 21 June 2013.

This image taken on 21 June 2013 shows an aerial view of Hong Hong's residential and commercial district. Since the era of Deng Xiaoping, the real estate sector has become and remains one of the main drivers of China's growth. 

 

The magic of an instant

In the photography category, we have the very popular art photography and photojournalism. Photojournalism is part of our cultural heritage and its artistic recognition comes about from the process of producing images that reflect what's happening in the world. Without renouncing the value of the use of these images, press photographers aspire to gain artistic recognition. Whatever the subject, photography should be seen as an artistic practice. Quite simply because a photograph is unique and captures a single moment in time. Because it helps us make sense of the world and because, in the eye of the photographer, there is the art of capturing a moment. And this is what creates the magic. Therefore, a photograph should be seen as an artwork as it is unique and exclusive and provokes a reaction. Professionals, photographers and agencies have understood and this has led to a whole new breed of publishers. The artistic interpretation of photojournalism has now been validated in exhibitions, etc. making it legitimate to sell these images. Here, we discover talented photographers and a range of work which is "surprising, astonishing, moving, unexpected and sometimes humorous" explains Olivier Bloud, manager of the Crystal Gallery; "each shot captures a moment in a life and tells a unique story, which in turn creates a different piece of work." This former Gamma employee knows what he's talking about. He has just acquired the rights for AFP's stock of professional photographs; a total of 20 million images, some taken at the start of the 20th century, which he has pored over to come up with an original and offbeat selection. As he produces around 4,000 images a day, there is something for everyone! 

© ROMEO GACAD/AFP - Baghdad, Iraq - 13 April 2003.

An American soldier, Craig Zentkovich from the Connecticut 1st brigade combat team, photographs a pink bedroom in Saddam Hussein's palace on 13 April 2003. The palace is located in a vast military camp near the airport just south-west of the capital.

It is clear that digital technology has multiplied the presence of images on a range of objects (dinnerware, textiles, wall coverings, etc.) but photography is first and foremost an art form. This is the assumption in any case. But what about photojournalism? "Our aim is to defend the expertise of the photographer and the value of professional images in terms of legacy. Certain photographers have travelled the world over and while their primary mission is to inform, their images are not without artistic value and creativity. Of course, everything is relative and subjective - we either love or hate the subject matter. Our collection "Seeing the world as it really is" is extremely eclectic and we applaud its truthfulness. In compliance with the AFP's code of professional ethics, none of the images have been altered in any way. All the photographs are of professional quality (Picto) and sold numbered in limited editions or in Open editions accompanied by a certificate of authenticity". Having decided to get photojournalism into our homes as others have before him, Olivier Bloud naturally turned to Habitat "because the brand has a history and its key vocation is to make beautiful items affordable." This unique partnership has resulted in an exclusive collection of photographs entitled "Seeing the world as it is". Usually reserved for media and digital professionals, this unique collection of 47 carefully selected images has never been seen by the public. Crossing decades, this selection offers a range of singular and eclectic images. For Habitat, it is an occasion to celebrate the human aspect of the endeavour and get art into our homes. 

"Seeing the world as it really is"

*Agence France Presse is a global new agency, which since 1957 has been providing news coverage on all subjects: politics, economics, conflicts, sport, fashion, religion, retrospectives, etc.

© AFP - Milan, Michigan, USA - 26 October 1949

This photograph taken on 26 October 1949 shows the American jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong. His melodic inventiveness established the central role of improvisation in jazz. Armstrong always claimed that he was born on 4 July 1900 in New Orleans although nobody is sure of the exact date. A popular singer (his successes include " Mack the Knife " and  "Hello, Dolly! "), he is also known for his acting roles in films such as "Pennies from Heaven" (1936), "Cabin in the Sky" (1943), and "High Society" (1956). For over forty years he toured the world and remains the best ambassador of jazz the world has known along with his New Orleans sextet. Armstrong died on 6 July 1971.