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La Galerie Rouge : Humanist Photography – The Concerned Photographer


La Galerie Rouge offers a confrontation between two photographic sensibilities which marked the 20th century and whose works resonate today with the issues of our current world: La Photographie Humaniste and “The Concerned Photographer”.

Humanist photography appeared in France in the 1930s and nourished the visual imagination of the post-war years by being widely used by the magazines of that era. It is centered on human beings and presents them in their daily environment: the streets, cafes, balls and parks. Because they are easy to photograph and because they represent the hope of a new world, children are among the favorite subjects of humanist photographers. Among the best representatives are: Édouard Boubat, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, and Sabine Weiss whose works appear in this exhibition. Despite the plural vision that they offer through their photographs, they have often been criticized for clinging to a poetic realism which highlighted the beauty of the world rather than denounced a social reality.

“The Concerned Photographer” is a term chosen by American photojournalist Cornell Capa to describe photographers who use photography to educate and change the world, not just to record it. It is a deeply committed and political photography, born from the Second World War and which sought, by taking human beings, their hopes and fears as their central subject, to explore contemporary issues in greater depth, and to strive to address them. denounce in order to avoid the recurrence of tragedies. In 1967, Cornell Capa organized an eponymous exhibition in New York, “The Concerned Photographer”, and published two books, in tribute to these committed photographers, including his brother, the photo-reporter Robert Capa, who died in Indochina in 1954, and his friend David Seymour killed in Egypt during the Suez Canal crisis in 1956. The exhibition “The Concerned Photographer” led to the creation of the International Center for Photography in New York in 1974, which aims to defend and promote this committed photography.

Rather than opposing these two sensibilities, this exhibition wishes to bring them into dialogue and show that a poetic vision of the world is not necessarily opposed to a committed vision. These photographers, American, French, British, German, Polish, also frequented the same press and photographer agencies – the Magnum photos agency, the Rapho agency -, and their works were often presented in the same exhibitions, the most famous was “The Family of Man” produced by Edward Steichen at MoMA in New York in 1955. As photojournalists, they all traveled the world in search of a certain social justice and a more humane world. The themes addressed in their images come together: love, friendship, poverty, war, human suffering and solitude. Inhabited by a deep empathy for the subjects photographed, they seek through their images to reconcile themselves with the world and their own traumas.

La Galerie Rouge invites visitors to delve into the history of these two movements and discover the remarkable works of photographers who left their mark on 20th century photography. The prints presented, most of them vintage, are collector’s items.

« The concerned photographer finds much in the present unacceptable which he tries to alter. Our goal is simply to let the world know why it is unacceptable. » Cornell Capa


La Photographie Humaniste – The Concerned Photographer
March 21 – May 11, 2024
Opening reception on Thursday March 21 from 6 p.m.
La Galerie Rouge
3, rue du Pont Louis-Philippe
75004 Paris

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