“When Michel Legrand died last January 26, all recognized him as a musician and composer of great talent, yet his record is edifying: he received three Oscars but no Cesar. The world of photography is no exception to what seems to be a rule in France, particularly in Paris, because we can only note the lack of support from national institutions, and cultural actors more generally, towards contemporary French photographers. Only historical figures and already “institutionalized” authors like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Sabine Weiss, Gilles Caron or Raymond Depardon are entitled to it. Very rare indeed are the places dedicated to photography to play the game, apart from Jean-Luc Monterosso at the time of his tenure at the European House of Photography or, outside Paris, institutions and festivals such as the Rencontres d’ Arles. Apart from these exceptions, contemporary French talents are rarely mentioned in the press – except in the specialized journals – and in the Jeu de Paume, Le Bal and others like Georges Pompidou Center programs. This lack of enthusiasm is especially obvious when it comes to defending French artists internationally, which other countries do not hesitate to do for theirs.
Why such a lack of support?
Do national institutions consider that this is not their role? Is it because an artist from the local environment lacks mystery and exoticism? Is it snobbery?
This is the Michel Legrand syndrome. Like him in the past, the French photographic artists – Valérie Belin, Stéphane Couturier, Antoine d’Agata, Luc Delahaye, Véronique Ellena, Mathieu Pernot … – are not sufficiently recognized by our cultural scene! In this conventional and frozen microcosm who, now, will have the courage to break the codes? ”
Florence and Damien Bachelot