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Festival L’Oeil Urbain : Guillaume Herbaut


“Ukraine is a marker in my photographic journey. Through this country, I went from classic black and white photojournalism to documentary photography that relates the invisible drama of a nuclear disaster. In 2001, from the first moments of my arrival, I felt connected to this territory. The colors reminded me of those of my childhood. People accepted me in their daily lives. I discovered the contaminated forbidden zone. A parallel world, a different relationship to reality, a questioning of how to photograph the traces of history.

Since then, I have been going to this country every year: in 2004, during the Orange revolution and the Donbass, then during the return of the Cossacks, symbols of a Ukrainian identity; in 2008 with Crimea and its inter-community tensions. Series of reportages, like a puzzle that prepared me to follow the Maidan revolution and the war in 2014. The history of this country allowed me to explore different narratives, to break benchmarks to finally get back into the news and reflect on photojournalism today. Like the contamination in leopard spots of Chernobyl, Ukraine is currently divided into different zones: contaminated zones, war zones, zones of peace like a mirror of the future of our societies. A reason that pushes me to continue. “ — Guillaume Herbaut

Guillaume Herbaut lives and works in Paris. In parallel with press assignment, his documentary work takes him to places steeped in history whose symbols and memory he questions in order to reveal their invisible tragedies: Chernobyl, Auschwitz, Nagasaki and more recently the conflict in Ukraine. His photographs have been exhibited at the Jeu de Paume, the Maison rouge, the Grande Arche of Photojournalisme, the Armenian Heritage Center in Valence and in many festivals. He has received several awards, including two World Press, a Visa d’or, the 2011 Niépce prize and, in 2016, the Bayeux-Calvados prize for war correspondents, web journalism category, for his travelogue in Ukraine produced by Arte Info.


Guillaume Herbaut : Terre Désirée
(Agence VU’)

Commanderie Saint-Jean

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