Temps de lecture estimé : 4mins

Pour sa troisième carte blanche, notre invitée de la semaine, la directrice exécutive de l’association FotoEvidence Svetlana Bachevanova nous explique pourquoi elle a décidé de baser son association en France. Fondé à New-York, l’association prend ses quartiers près de Montpellier depuis 2020. Ce choix est en premier lieu personnel avec un goût pour une langue et une culture, mais la France est également le pays qui accueille chaque année les professionnels du photojournalisme du monde entier que ce soit à Perpignan ou à Bagneux…

Ten Years FotoEvidence, Visa Pour L’image, The Dream

Ten Years FotoEvidence, Visa Pour L’image, The Dream

People are asking me “why France?”. Why have I decided to establish the FotoEvidence Association in France?

French language and culture have been always part of my life. 

I was 4 years old when my parents enrolled me in a French speaking kindergarten. Knowing French turned to be a window to a world that was otherwise unreachable. The communist regime in Bulgaria did not allow us to travel abroad so, we grew up with beautiful, romantic French movies, fine poetry, and literature a form of escape from the enforced Russian culture.

France is the birthplace of photography. I still remember my first visit to Paris and the photo exhibit I saw. On my way out of the hotel, I noticed painted steps on the sidewalk taking a right turn from the hotel door. I decided to follow them. Soon, I reached a small gallery with an exhibit of the Czech photographer Jan Saudek. I was a big admirer of his work and seeing it in front of my eyes was emotional. This same trip I started my collection of photobooks with copies of Marc Riboud and David Hamilton. It was not common back then to own a photo book published in the West, so my friends enjoyed very much looking through Riboud’s iconic images.

This is one of the privileges of growing up in a repressed society, you learn happiness from small things in life.

The French president François Mitterrand came on the eve of 1988 to give support to the rising democratic forces in Bulgaria, that led a year later to the fall of the communist regime. I was deeply involved in the process and knew the political significance of his visit.

As a young photojournalist, one of my dreams was to be part of the Visa Pour L’Image festival in Perpignan. Years later, FotoEvidence books found their place in the bookstore of the festival. I am deeply grateful to Corrine Duchemin who saw value in our books and welcomed us in her popup bookstore every year.  And then Jean Francois Leroy made my dream come true celebrating FotoEvidence’s tenth anniversary with two nights of projections at Visa.

Solmaz Daryani and Manoocher Deghati at Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Award for War Correspondents

Most of our books are multilingual but four of them have French language included: 

Limitless Africans by Nigerian photographer Mikael Owunna, about what is to be gay and black in several countries around the world.
Link to Limitless Africans: FotoEvidence | Documenting Social Injustice

Talibes: Modern Day Slaves by Portuguese photographer Mario Cruz that documents an alarming social condition for at least 50,000 young boys in Senegal aged between five and 15.
Talibes: Modern Day Slaves: FotoEvidence | Documenting Social Injustice

The Eyes of Earth by Solmaz Daryani, winner of the 2021 W Award about the disappearing of Lake Urmia in Iran.
The Eyes of Earth: FotoEvidence | Documenting Social Injustice

First Generation by French photographer Carolina Arantes, a photo book about the process of building and affirming a black female identity in France.
First Generation: FotoEvidence | Documenting Social Injustice

La Rédaction
9 Lives magazine vous accompagne au quotidien dans le monde de la photographie et de l'Image.

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