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The cultural institutionalization of photography in France: a brief history

Yacavone, Kathrin


Kathrin Yacavone


This article provides a historical overview of the cultural institutionalization of photography in France, with a particular focus on the pioneering initiatives of individual photography enthusiasts throughout the 1970s to promote photographic culture. These efforts were roughly simultaneous with changes in acquisition and exhibition practices on the part of fine art museums and collections with respect to photography, in response to an increasing world-wide recognition of its status as an art form. The article explains how, despite the promotion of photography as a French invention and a contribution to culture (as early as its inception in 1839), an active cultural politics of photography did not emerge until the early to mid-1980s and was an opportune reaction to, and institutionalized framing of, ground-level cultural developments already underway.


Yacavone, K. (2014). The cultural institutionalization of photography in France: a brief history. Nottingham French Studies, 55(2),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2014
Publication Date Jul 15, 2014
Deposit Date Mar 10, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 10, 2017
Journal Nottingham French Studies
Print ISSN 0029-4586
Electronic ISSN 2047-7236
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Issue 2
Keywords Bibliothèque nationale de France, Centre national de la photographie, cultural politics, Jack Lang, Maison européenne de la photographie
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This has been accepted for publication by Edinburgh University Press in Nottingham french Studies.


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