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30 years of passion

Christophe Girard
Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of culture

Poster realised by Vik Muniz

30 years on, Paris still celebrates photography, be it documentary or art photography, every other year in November.
30 years on, the city’s major cultural institutions still contribute to the diversity and success of the Month of Photography, each with its own profi le and its own programme.
And 30 years on, enthusiastic or simply curious visitors from France and abroad still come to Paris for this festival, taking the pulse of the world of photography through both contemporary work and heritage collections.
Many changes have occurred in the field of photography since 1980, when the first Month of Photography took place: the number of photography venues has greatly increased; the status of photographic collections has changed; digitalisation has brought about a technical revolution; and the market has developed considerably. There has been a leap in terms of both quality and quantity, and successive editions of the Month of Photography have made a significant contribution to vindicating a medium that still only enjoyed scant recognition in the early 1980s.
From the start, thanks to the enthusiasm of its initiators, the Month of Photography naturally led to the creation of what has now become one of the most emblematic contemporary photography collections in the world, namely that of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.
“Paris Collects” is thus an apt title for this, the 30th anniversary of the festival. It provides an opportunity to display important photographic series or individual photographs from the MEP collection, and features exhibitions devoted to the work of Dieter Appelt, Alexandra Boulat, Harry Callahan, Larry Clark, Thibaut Cuisset, Raymond Depardon, Mario Giacomelli and Nils Udo, to name but a few. It is also an opportunity to create a dialogue between different collections. I am therefore delighted to see photographs belonging to the MEP being displayed alongside works from municipal, national or private collections for the first time, for example those of the Maison de Victor Hugo and the Parisienne de Photographie (with an exhibition on portraits of writers), and the Musée de la Marine’s maritime collection.
Whatever their status, collections are a source of fascination. This Month of Photography is a wonderful opportunity to look at the history of photography, its rationale, the conditions under which it is displayed, and the passion that underlies its production.