French newspaper “Libération” shows us a world without photojournalism
posted Friday, November 15, 2013 at 1:34 PM EDT
Newspaper employees the world over are facing the specter of their jobs disappearing — but it's photojournalists who have the most to dread. Photographers have faced the brunt of recent job cuts, leaving papers far poorer for their absence. But one French newspaper has printed a special edition that shows just what our news would look like if it were totally missing the photographs that we're so used to.
French newspaper Libération removed all the images from its November 14 edition, a statement of solidarity with photographers, timed to coincide with the opening of Paris Photo 2013. According to the British Journal of Photography, the front page read:
"Libération vows an eternal gratitude to photography, whether produced by photojournalists, fashion photographers, portraitists, or conceptual artists. Our passion for photography has never been questioned - not because it's used to beautify, shock or illustrate, but because photography takes the pulse of our world. To choose Paris Photo's opening day to "install' these white images highlights our commitment to photography. It's not a wake, we're not burying the photographic art [...] Instead we give photography the homage it deserves. Yet, no one can ignore the calamitous situation press photographers now find themselves in, especially war photographers who risk their lives while barely making a living. And for those whose work went on show today in the Grand Palais thanks to shrewd gallery owners, we might think that the odds are in their favour, but it's all smoke and mirrors: the art photography market is currently confused."
This is the first time in the newspaper's entire history that it has been printed without photographs, and the blank white boxes are a stark reminder of just how much these images bring to a newspaper. What is left is a news source lacking so much of the impact it really should have.
Luckily, the images that were set to be used in this printing were not gone for good. The issue had a special insert with all the photos — but this time with the text surrounding them removed.