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William Klein (1928-2022) : William Klein Academie des Beaux Arts Photography Award



A JFC column for the William Klein Academie des Beaux Arts Photography Award awarded to Raghu Rai on October 30, 2019

On Wednesday, October 30, all those who count in the small world of photography were invited, in the great hall of the sessions of the Institute of France – where François Arago, a hundred and eighty years ago, offered to the world the patent of photography – to attend the awarding of the most endowed William Klein Award (120 000 €). The lucky recipient is none other than Raghu Rai, the great Indian photographer, a member of the Magnum photo agency.

Perpetual secretary Laurent Petitgirard first painted an entertaining and amusing portrait of the world of photography, before celebrating William Klein, then honoring the new and first laureate. Without forgetting to thank our Chinese patron, Mr. Zhong Weixing, without whom this prize could never have existed. Sebastiao Salgado then described the genesis of the prize or how this project appeared to Jean-Luc Monterosso and myself as we waited for William Klein to dine together, in a restaurant in the Place de l’Odéon.

Then, Bruno Barbey praised Raghu Rai, photographer in the purest tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson, while highlighting the quality of his latest work in color, probably to reinforce his own evolution towards this passage difficult.

Raghu Rai responded with great elegance and took the opportunity to thank François Hébel for having exhibited at the Rencontres d’Arles, allowing a wide audience to discover his work.

The great originality of this “unusual session of the Academy” was the long speech in Chinese of our dear patron, Mr. Zhong Weixing, who found the right words to celebrate the work and personality of William Klein and pay tribute to Raghu Rai whose humanist talent captures the oriental soul of his multi-faceted people.



Jean-François Camp : Former owner of the DUPON laboratories, sponsors of the Visa pour l’Image festival for 30 years, but also the Rencontres D’Arles, the Images and Nature Festival of La Gacilly, the Bayeux Prize for war correspondents. Vice President of the association Visa pour l’Image, creator and in charge of the International Center for Photojournalism and CEO of DUREV Events dedicated to the promotion of the photographic image in Paris.

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