Posts Tagged ‘France’

Reporters Associés

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The Eye of Photography has just published a series of articles by Louis Le Roux (in English translation) about the Paris photo agency Reporters Associés, founded in 1953. Le Roux joined them as a lab worker a few months later and eventually became the head of the agency, one of first generation which pioneered the “French photojournalism” of the second part of the 20th century, serving the rise of magazines such as Paris Match, Stern, Jours de France…

In part one of the five part series he brings to life some of the problems of working at the time, starting with a primitive darkroom around the same size as my own boxroom darkroom at home, and with the same lack of facilities, without running water or sink, though in a much grander house on Avenue Frochot.  

The second part looks in detail at Lova de Vaysse, real name was Vladimir-Lev Rychkoff-Taroussky (1921- 1983), the boss of the agency.

Part 3, The Fifties of the Rolleiflex, looks at the change from the press cameras using glass plates to film-based photography and some of the reportages carried out by the agency as well as giving some details about materials and storage of negatives and prints.

The fourth part of the series looks at the Agency’s peak in the 1960s when it covered all major events and a rapid change to 35mm took place, at first with Leicas and then Pentax, Canon and Nikon SLRs. While the square format of the Rollei meant that virtually all images were cropped in the darkroom, Le Roux comments “There will be less and less need to crop photos. The framing will be done directly by the photographers thanks to the change of lens. Besides, photographers don’t really like having their shots cropped.” And finally the agency got a proper modern darkroom and had to begin to cope with the move to colour.

In the final part Le Roux talks about some of the photographers who worked with the agency in the 1960s, and about the loss of their contract with Stern. Many of the best photographers were leaving to join newer agencies such as Gamma, and Le Roux, seeing the agency had no future he resigned. Two months later it was bankrupt.

It’s a well illustrated insider’s story into a period of great change in photojournalism, and well worth reading.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr


Provence Spring 1974

Monday, May 18th, 2020
Vineyard, Provence aix1974-483

We took a short break in the south of France at the start of the Easter holiday in 1974, travelling by train from London. Getting off the ferry in France we boarded a sleeper train which took us all the way to Aix-en-Provence, though rather more slowly than the current TGV service. I vaguely remember it trundling slowly and noisily around the now abandoned ‘Petite Ceinture’ in Paris in the evening and waking up the following morning as we approached Avignon.

Montagne Saint-Victoire aix1974-490

We took several coach tours from Aix, taking us to the Luberon, to the incredible fortress at Les Baux-de-Provence, Les Antiques at St Remy de Provence and to Arles, as well as taking the train to Marseille and exploring Aix and the countryside around. We tried to climb Cezanne’s favourite mountain, Mont Sainte-Victoire , but had to abandon the attempt when clouds came down enveloping us. It didn’t help that I was suffering from a temporary paralysis which made it difficult to move my legs, an unfortunate side-effect of an antidiarrhetic drug.

Les Alyscamps, Arles aix1974-026

I photographed mainly in colour on the trip and was I think using cheap Ferrania/3M film bought in 50ft or 100ft tins to load cassettes, and home processed. They have lasted surprisingly well, rather better than the few rolls of black and white I also took which has suffered extensively from insect infestation, eating their way through the gelatine. I think I must have been fortunate in the processing kit I used, and some for later films produced rather less stable images.

Street, Provence, Spring, 1974 aix1974-304

My memory too has suffered over the 46 years since I made these pictures, and although some locations are clear from the images, others I am unsure or have no recollection of. So if you can confirm any please add this on rhw Flickr page.

I tried for quite a few to find similar images on the web, using both normal searches on Google and also its ‘search by image’. I could only confirm a couple of them in this way. What I did discover is that for some sites where I thought they might have been taken, Google images finds only pictures – and sometimes hundreds of them – taken from a very limited number of viewpoints, as if photographers are reluctant to explore the location and find new and different views. Rather as if the places were marked by little Kodak signs telling you to take your picture here – I think there are still a few in London.

Marseille aix1974-119

Too many of my pictures back in 1974 are perhaps rather like these, typical tourist images, and I’ve edited out some of these in the set I’ve put online, though others remain. None are great photographs, but many have some interest, at least for me and I hope for you.

Street, Provence, 1974 aix1974-048
Flick Album: South of France 1974

You can see the pictures larger on Flickr.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


More from the Loire

Thursday, April 30th, 2020
Mill, Montreuil-sur-Maine l19B73loire
Mill, Montreuil-sur-Maine

We started our ride with a couple of excursions from Angers, including one to the north where we rode back alongside the Mayenne. Watermills were a feature at many points of our rides, particularly along the tributaries of the Loire.

Coutures x34loire

There were a number of similar roadside crosses at junctions along some of the minor roads we cycled along, but I think this was the only one I stopped to photograph. Despite the place names on the road signs it was difficult to find the location as none of those names appears on maps or on Google and I only eventually located it by ‘riding’ on Streetview. I think it is actually a little north from where the caption on Flickr indicates.

Horse-drawn cart in Vineyard, Loire Valley x24loire

Many of the roads we cycled along were departmental roads or routes communales and both were often little more than farm tracks, though most were metalled. We met little traffic, sometimes cycling for an hour or more without seeing a car or tractor. Farmers were still working with horses on a number of fields, mainly vineyards that we passed.

A main road, Indre-et-Loire d30loire

Many of the departmental routes pass through small villages and the street above was wider than many (I think it is somewhere east of Orleans, but let me know if you recognise it.) Often there were children walking out into the street who would shout encouragement to the two mad cyclists passing through. The Tour de France had just ended and cycle-mania was at its peak. Sometimes kids on bikes would try to race us, puffing noisily as they struggled past before turning off and stopping while we continued at a steady pace for perhaps another 30 or 40 miles.

There were also other cyclists, without luggage and dressed for the Tour on lightweight racing bikes (which mine had once been before I replaced its narrow tubular tires with sturdier versions on wheels with wider rims and twice the weight.) Struggling up a hill well behind me, Linda suddenly felt pedalling much easier and she began to accelerate, and at the summit a rider let go of her saddle and waved a cheery ‘au revoir’. Much less welcome were the dogs who chased us through some farms, and a couple of times I had to pull the aluminium cycle pump from the frame to beat them away.

River Thouet Montreuil-Bellay k29loire

Some of the chateaux were remarkably out of some Gothic fairly tale, such as Montreuil-Bellay above the River Thouet, where I expected to see knights on horses with lances or perhaps even unicorns, but was disappointed.

Loire Valley x26loire
Near Angers – but let me know if you know exactly where it is.

And should you feel moved to emulate us after seeing these pictures, one small road safety tip. It really is better to ride on the right (as having pressed the shutter I raced to tell Linda), though with roads as empty as this one it wasn’t a real problem.

More on Flickr at 1975 Loire Valley Bike Tour.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Visa pour l’image

Saturday, September 7th, 2019

It’s always worth looking at the web site for Visa Pour l’Image, the annual festival of photojournalism which takes place every year around this time in Perpignan. It’s a festival like Arles that I’ve often though about attending but never got around to actually doing so. Back in the days when I would have got more out of both of them I was always still teaching when took place, Arles in early July and Perpignan in September, and now I feel too old.

The festival has a Facebook page and you can read more about Visa Pour l’Image in various sites on-line, many of them in French. In English as you might expect the British Journal of Photography has some coverage with an article with a lengthy title:
Visa pour l’Image returns with a focus on press freedom and fake news

A rather different approach comes from Euronews, whose feature is titled ‘Visa pour l’image: The story of the world from big food to defecation‘.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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