Temps de lecture estimé : 4mins

Pour sa quatrième et dernière carte blanche, notre invitée de la semaine, la directrice exécutive de l’association FotoEvidence Svetlana Bachevanova a souhaité nous parler de l’ère numérique dans le secteur du photojournalisme. FotoEvidence a été créé en 2010 à l’époque de l’incroyable essor du numérique dans la photographie. Elle nous raconte son premier projet de livre numérique avec le photographe Stephen Shames, 10 ans plus tard, FotoEvidence initie sa galerie virtuelle…

FotoEvidence was established at a time of huge development and growth in digital in photography. 

People were looking at a lot server-based image but there were no digital photo books and I imagined a digital photo book that could be downloaded, used hi-res images that could be enlarged, with the functionality to turn pages,  and included audio and external links. Jack Lowel, FotoEvidence’s first web designer was at home for dinner, and I mentioned my idea. He though for a while and said, show me online what photo book you want, and I will make it for you.  But there was nothing like my idea online to show him.

With some research, I found a man in Hungary who was able to create a unique software for future FotoEvidence digital photo books.

Rafael (13) jumps from one building to the next, eight stories up. 1977 © Stephen Shames

We were in a conversation with Stephen Shames, a photographer whose work I deeply respect and who had a large unpublished body of work titled that he had shot in the Bronx, in New  York City. He was mostly interested in publishing a physical book but with time the idea for a digital monograph started to intrigue him. Bronx Boys was the first of many books we did with  our dear friend Régina Monfort as a photo editor.

In August 2011 in TIME magazine, Paul Moakley wrote  about Bronx Boys, “Bronx Boys is also one of the first true digital photo-monographs that can be downloaded to your computer. Created with Flash, it has the look and feel of a physical book with pages you can turn.”

“I was a little worried at first that they weren’t going to be doing a physical object but now I love it,” Shames said. “You can blow up the pages without losing quality and explore the work. It’s not just a PDF. It’s more interactive and you can explore it. I was captivated by being the first person to have a book like this.” 

The day Bronx Boys went publicly online in August 2011, we were anxious if the book would behave well technically, but we were never prepared for what would happen. In the first 20 minutes after the book went live, the digital photo book Bronx Boys was downloaded twice: once from Hoboken, NJ USA and once from Omsk, Siberia, Russia.

At that time, such an ability to connect people from the two sides of the globe through photography was simply amazing for me.

We discovered the photographer from Omsk, Siberia who first purchased the Bronx Boy monograph and connected him with Stephen Shames. They met online and had a long conversation about photography.

LINK TO TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Bronx Boys, A Digital Monograph by Stephen Shames | Time

FotoEvidence Virtual Gallery

Ten years later, I am again fascinated by the new development and just built FotoEvidence a new virtual gallery, where up to 30 people from around the world can visit and talk with each other while walking around the gallery. It has a digital library with all of FotoEvidence’s books  as PDFs and a current exhibit of Indian photojournalist Smita Sharma. Everyone is welcome and if you see me there hanging pictures on the wall, please turn your audio ‘on’ and say hello.


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