L’Oeil de la Photographie went through several iterations in its short history. It started as La Lettre de la Photographie, before switching its name to Le Journal de la Photographie. It then was forced to shut down in August 2013, before rising from its ashes three months later as L’Oeil. “Last year, Le Journal had a business partner who owned 51% of the company,” says Jean-Jacques Naudet, the site’s founder and managing editor. “But that partner had financial issues, so he started delaying payments to our contributors. And one day, these payments stopped altogether. When you’re working with such a partner, there comes a point when enough is enough, especially since we had 36 contributors, so we made the decision in August last year to leave the site.”
After receiving hundreds of emails and phone calls, says Naudet, “I thought we couldn’t just give up.” Backed by seven “godfathers and godmothers,” including Maja Hoffmann of the Luma Foundation, photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, curator W.M. Hunt, and Philippe Gassmann of Picto, the site was revived under its new moniker: L’Oeil de la Photographie (The Eye of Photography).
Naudet’s plans are ambitious. This week, he launched five diaries – exhibitions, auctions, festivals, events and photobooks – with the goal “to cover everything that’s happening around the world in photography,” he tells BJP. “A couple more will be launched later this year for workshops and portfolio reviews.”
L’Oeil has also partnered with China Photo Service, a subsidiary of the Xinhua News Agency, to produce a weekly version in Chinese. “And then, we’ll launch our Italian, German and Russian version. I also want to offer Spanish and Portuguese versions, but that will be for later.”