This exhibition offers a route through the photographic collection of the National Research and Safety Institute for the Prevention of Accidents while working and Occupational Diseases (INRS), focusing on the representation of the working movement. By entering companies through the prism of occupational health and safety, we discover the working conditions of employees and their professional environment, which have evolved and even disappeared over time. Our perception of these initially descriptive images is modified and gives these representations of work a real historical value.
Since the creation of the National Security Institute – INS – in 1947 (which became the National Institute for Research and Security – INRS – in 1968), photography is present in the various documents of the Institute and in particular in the Work & Safety review, a monthly review, intended for those involved with prevention in companies.
However, the role of photography has evolved. Thus, at the very beginning, photography showed the reality of work in companies, good practices or dangerous situations, by stagings in the field or in a studio. Over the years, photographers have focused on reporting, within companies themselves, in order to stay as close as possible to the working world in all its diversity.
With production spanning more than 70 years, INRS has a heritage photographic collection of 70,000 images that reflects the evolution of the working world.