To read if you are interested in landscape/documentary photography and if you understand French! [the whole article is in French]
Since the DATAR Photographic Mission, it has not been unusual for governments in France and Europe as a whole to invite photographers to represent the territories in which they are active. Their chief motivation is usually to reappraise the natural or architectural landscapes of those areas. These invitations in the form of commissions result in depictions that are more or less artistic and/or documentary, but they do not permit the photographers to raise questions or formulate hypotheses. Forced to operate within geographic and temporal constraints that are often underestimated, they tend to produce the images expected of them, images intended to showcase, neutralize, or “patrimonialize” the territories in question. By examining a number of these commissions, including three involving historic sites, neighborhoods to be renovated, and the reclamation of industrial wastelands, this essay suggests that the photographers are hired not to conduct investigations or present new ideas but to provide stylish illustrations. The question, then, is how to practice a truly investigative brand of photography, one that would be able to make connections, embody and generate new knowledge.