Approximately 15 miles southwest of Montpellier, France along the Mediterranean coast is Sete. The scene, “Sete, France (1968)“, screams French fishing village, and is easily identifiable as such as would be a photo of the Eiffel Tower. An invisible, diagonal line draws attention to the interaction between the dock worker on the left of the photo and the two men on the right. A classic photo in any conversation. The fact that these men are seen in primarily silhouette adds to the mystery of the scene.
A scene from a spy thriller or just a gentleman smoking his pipe overlooking the Seine? Imagine the effect of this photo if the pipe was absent. Such a small section of the photo, if missing, would have such a large effect on the overall mood. Perhaps this man was thinking about the future of France as Hitler was consolidating his power in Germany? This photo comes to us from a contributor in Bulgaria.
Hallowed ground to be sure. These images of Omaha Beach and the American Military Cemetery at Colleville are a recent addition to our collection. Pointe du Hoc is the image on the right. Although they were taken in August 1968 you can still feel the presence of the soldiers in the battle. The explosions. The screams. It is the same feeling that I experience when traveling through parts of the South. I can feel the presence of Civil War soldiers in the woods. Maybe I’m just oversensitive. Or maybe something else is going on.
Lest we forget. Lead photo is called “Fortress Europa“, Normandy, France (1958). Today, a tourist attraction. Seen below is “Colleville“; Colleville-sur-Mer, France (1958), the American military cemetery. Freedom is not free.
A “no-go” zone is defined as an area within a city where law enforcement authorities fear to tread creating an enclave which differs from the general society as a whole. This might include an enclave in which crime cannot be controlled. In the current conversation we a referring to sections of European cities which house large immigrant populations, predominantly Muslim, who have failed to assimilate into the host country’s society. This is not all that unusual as immigrant populations tend to isolate themselves in the first generation only to assimilate more easily in future generations.
The contribution of French photo agencies to the field of photojournalism and documentary photography should not be underestimated. One might say that the father of French photojournalism was Henri Cartier-Bresson. His argument that a photo should be taken at the “decisive moment” still holds true. But there have also been major contributions made by Magnum, Gamma-Liason and Sipa photo agencies to illustrate this point that the French have been pioneers in photojournalism. These agencies have set the standard for others to follow including DPI.