Newspaper Removes All Images to Show Support for Photographers

Newspaper Removes All Images to Show Support for Photographers

French newspaper, Libération, published their November 14th issue without a single photograph. The stark blanket of text is all that is left of the issue. Their reasoning for leaving out the photos? They wanted to show their support of photographers who help bring the paper to life. They decided to publish on the same day as Paris Photo's opening day, to make a stand for photojournalists who risk everything and receive very little in return.

In this article by The British Journal of Photography the French newspaper explains its decision on its front page:

"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."

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The last image shows the missing photographs without the written articles beside them.

My question in all of this is: Isn't print media responsible for the lack of funding to photographers? They're the ones who set the budgets so shouldn't they be the ones responsible for the little pay that photographers receive?

[Via: The British Journal of Photography]

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18 Comments

Aaron Mangiapane's picture

Also, wouldn't make more of a statement about photography if the pages only had photographs? Without any perspective on the subject, I would think that this supports the writers and almost states "see, we don't need photographs to tell a story."

Hey this looks like the Wall Street Journal. LOL

It's reading a newspaper considered hipster nowadays?

No it's just a great way to have decent news at the time of direct live without any perspective on what they are talking about and news item, to distract the crowds of real problems. Yeah I'm french and yeah I read libé...

I think it's a really good show of support. I know it's the print media who sets the pay for their photographers, but us photojournalists don't exactly do it for riches. Printed media is dieing world over making it hard for photographers and writers to be paid well.

I wonder if they then paid all those photographers only the "1/8th page or less" rate instead of the full pages they might have normally.

That's an interesting way to show your support to photographers by not featuring any actual photographs. "No photographers were paid with the making of this publication."

You're not really that literal-minded, are you?

Apparently, I am. I'm in agreement with Aaron M's comment (above) about the paper making more of a statement about photography by showcasing only photographs on the pages. I suppose it just bugs me that they are "supporting" photographers by not featuring—or paying for—any of their images.

I don't think you understood the article Ms Britt wrote.
If you read the BJoP article, or even bothered to find out more about the paperLiberation you would have understood the point they made in support of Photojournalism.
I'm quite certain you (or Aaaron M) have no idea what literal minded means. I have no time or the inclination to continue any discussion with you until you do some homework.

Aaron Mangiapane's picture

First, when did it become a bad thing to be literal minded? I'm sorry not everyone can be as creative as yourself. But, without trying to, you proved my point that without perspective this could be interpolated to be supporting writers not photographers. Believe me I understand the article and the point the newspaper is trying to make. The problem I have with it is that most people have a tendency to take things at face value, especially things like newspapers. Why do you think they sensationalize things like their own headlines? To grab the viewers attention... So having no photographs could be interpreted as saying "we only support writers." Also, I'm not really sure how someone having an opinion about this subject that is different than yours constitutes you placing judgement on the type( or quality) of person they may be. Creativity does not prove intelligence, nor vice versa. If you want to have a conversation about the article, good. If you want to comment on the merit of someone else's opinion by judging them, keep it to yourself and go back to the bridge you crawled out from.

Whoa there sunshine. You need to get a sense of proportion about yourself.
Look at that layout. It is an eloquent statement about the relationship between the written word and photojournalism. It's as a fine a protest against the firing of staff photographers as one could want. Too bad we don't have a paper in this country as brave as Liberation.
If you had paid attention in class-history of Photography-instead of pissing about on your laptop-you'd know this cold.

I see two sides of the coin here - the (printing) media and the people buying their papers.

As long as the clients/ readers are putting up with cell phone pictures on the front page and buying the paper, then dropping staff photogaphers is a competitive edge. If quality isn't valued then suppliying it is a cost factor.
I think it is the obligation of the readers to exercise their democracy with their wallets by not buying crappy papers.

It might be a far- fetched analogy, but when Lady Di died, the outrage at "those vile paperazzis" was audible all over the world.
But absolutely nobody wanted to take the logic the one step further: Those paparazzi only supplied our demands for juicy pictures. Every time a tabloid is bought off the news rack another paperazzo is turned loose.
Stop buying tabloids - no more paperazzi.
Stop buyng papers with crap photos - no more cell phone openers.

Simple as that.
Unless, of course, you don't care.

It could be true, as "simple as that", but one thing is being discarded: that we, the people, are taken into a dynamic that tells us not only what to see, but how to see. Since smartphones are ubiquitous, that's precisely what is reinforced to be accepted. People don't seem to see with bad eyes that newspapers, at least in their electronic distribution, use crappy photos. What I want to say is that it not only depends on supply and demand, not that literal, but also on economic, political, cultural and social factors. We are not induced into a visual education that covers all those aspects as well.

Oh it's ok they gave them photo credit

Next step is to support the writers.. and have only photos without stories.

Thanks to Liberation for taking making such a bold statement.
Too bad we don't have such a publication here in the land of the free and home of the brave.

I think it's a great way of showing it.