Le fonds Sygma exploité par Corbis

Audrey Leblanc, Sébastien Dupuy
2017 Études Photographiques  
In 2010, shortly after the compulsory liquidation of Corbis-Sygma, uncertainties bearing on the future of the Sygma archive began to be realized. Photojournalism agencies compile collections or albums whose primary function is as promotional tool but which are willingly presented as a vision of history. This professional vulgate, in which the figure of the photographer is central and photography sovereign, constructs a primitive history of photojournalism undertaken by its own agents which
more » ... n agents which shields it from any account that may challenge it. Claiming the status of humble, and transparent, representative of History, media outlets are loath to admit a role of active mediator, the economic logic of which would clash with the code of ethics they present. Owing to the context created by the digital transition crisis, and the exploitation of it by Corbis, we were granted access to the Sygma archive, the paragon of the new generation of photographic agencies that emerged in France at the end of the 1960s, reigning supreme over the market and turning Paris at the time into the "capitale du photojournalisme." The archive bears the material marks of its administration and reorganization, as well as those of its prior catalogings: these traces enable us to propose a description of the agency's activities, one which accounts for its industrial constraints, exposing the outlines of an alternate history of photojournalism.
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