This unprecedented act by Libération stresses the importance of photojournalism, especially at this unfortunate time when more and more newspaper photographers have been losing their jobs.
Olivier Laurent of the British Journal of Photography wrote last week that on November 14, which also marks the opening of Paris Photo, Libération made a first in its 40-year history by publishing a special issue which was noticeably devoid of any photo. The paper looked like how a normal paper usually would, only that the boxes where photos should have been placed on were left blank. All the missing images, articles, and written materials were placed together in a flatplan placed at the end of the issue.
Libération ’s Culture desk writer Brigitte Ollier, calling the empty frames, “a form of silence; an uncomfortable one,” wrote, “It’s noticeable, information is missing, as if we had become a mute newspaper. [A newspaper] without sound, without this little internal music that accompanies sight.”
Meanwhile, the following text was written on that particular issue’s 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.