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Tag: André Kertész

Class struggle at the Centre Pompidou, Paris

Reading Time: 4 minutes From 07 November to 04 February, the Centre Pompidou in Paris is showing a striking exhibition on a little-known aspect of the roots of 20th century social documentary photography, Photographie, arme de classe [which roughly translates as ‘Photography as a weapon in the class struggle’]. Curated by Damarice Amao, Florian Ebner and Christian Joschke, the show deals with a comparatively unknown period in French photo history, from the end of the 1920s to the arrival of the Front populaire government of 1936 – when the socialist, communist and radical parties formed a short-lived coalition to govern France, with the tacit backing of the Soviet Union.

Photographer and activist Henri Tracol (1909-1997) was the first to formulate the idea that photography could be an “arme de classe”, in the tract he wrote for the photographer’s section of the Association des Écrivains et Artistes Revolutionnaires [‘Association of Revolutionary Writers and Artists’ aka the AEAR], formed in 1932. Although this communist front, Moscow-sponsored organisation only lasted a few years, it attracted many of the leading figures of the day from art, theatre, literature, architecture, and particularly photography. Those who joined were either fellow travellers or politically attached to communism, seeing it as a bastion against the twin evils of the time – fascism and capitalism.

Any Answers: Christian Caujolle

Reading Time: 3 minutes The chief picture editor of Libération between 1981 and 1986, Christian Caujoulle left to co-found Agence Vu’ and, a decade later, Galerie Vu’. He has curated and edited countless photofestivals, exhibitions, and books, and is associate professor at the ENS Louis Lumière school

Any Answers: Joel Meyerowitz

Reading Time: 3 minutes The camera is like a divining rod and I have lived my life letting instinct show me what I am interested in, says Joel Meyerowitz, who quit his job in advertising in 1962, after seeing Robert Frank at work. A native New Yorker, he became known for his early colour work on the city streets

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