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Bruno Barney : May 68 or Imagination in power


The exhibition is proposed by The Assises Internationales du Journalisme de Tours, as part of the organization of the 11th edition of the event. The Château de Tours is showing legendary pictures by the French photographer who covered the May ’68 in Paris. Here is his personal story.

I went back to Paris in the spring or ’68 after a long trip to South-East Asia (the Vietnam war was raging) and to Japan where big riots had taken place. I photographed most of the demonstrations: “the taking of the Sorbonne”  and its abandon – “Too late CRS, the Sorbonne isn’t a temple” chanted the students -, the occupation of the Odéon Theatre, the Renault factory strike, the funeral of Gilles Tautain, the huge Gaullist demonstration on the Champs Elysées and the barricades in the Latin Quarter, the Rue Gay Lussac.

During those weeks my clothes stank with the clinging smell of tear-gas. The ORTF was on strike and, with Godard, Chris Marker and the others, we made little short films called “ciné-tracts”, by filming our photographs on an animation stand. These films were shown across France on strike, deprived of television. There was an urgency in communicating, in talking to one another, in calling everything into question, it was the rebellion of a generation against what society had prepared for it, against everything that came from on high.

The slogans covered the walls: “IT IS FORBIDDEN TO FORBID”, “UNDER THE COBBLESTONES, THE BEACH”, “ENJOY WITHOUT SHACKLES”… It was a great revolt of adolescents who lived in one of the richest countries in the world, before the oil shock of 1973. May’68 was also “an indispensable luxury” during the “Prague spring”, Prague then crushed by the Warsaw Pact tanks.

Bruno Barbey

Bruno Barbey is a French photographer, a member of Magnum.


Bruno Barbey, Mai 68 ou l’imagination au pouvoir
From 2nd February to 15th April 2018
Château de Tours
25 Avenue André Malraux
37000 Tours

A film by Caroline Thienot-Barbey “Mai 68”, fourteen minutes, accompanies the photographic exhibition.

11e Assises Internationale du Journalisme de Tours 
March 14 – 15 – 16 – 17, 2018 
Centre de congrès de Tours et autres lieux à Tours

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