Photojournalist; founding member of Gamma USA and Sygma Photo News; author of Photographer’s Paradise: Turbulent America 1960–1990; Forward by Sir Harold Evans (Glitterati Inc., 2014)
in conversation with
Professor, Department of Photography and Imaging and Department of Art History, NYU; critic; curator; author of Parisian Views; editor, Inverted Odysseys: Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman
Sparked by the desire to be a witness to his time, and driven by his insatiable curiosity, photojournalist Jean-Pierre Laffont traveled all fifty of the United States, capturing America through some of its most turbulent eras.
Laffont photographed everything: crises, tragedies, daily news, the politics of the White House and the United Nations. He thrived on working alone and only on stories of his choosing, ranging from the Civil Rights movement, to the race riots, the Vietnam War, the first Gay Pride parades, as well as the peace and feminist movements. He wrote his itineraries, made his appointments, paid his expenses, developed his films, edited his photos, and wrote his copy. He worked "on speculation", disliked working on assignments, and the needs of the marketplace never entered into his decisions to cover a particular story.
The book is organized by decade, taking us across the nation, from the funerals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy to the Washington D.C. protests. In no other country could Laffont have accessed such a wide range of controversial subject matter. For a photojournalist, America was, and continues to be, a Photographer’s Paradise.
For more than four decades, Laffont traveled the globe for the world's leading news magazines. Among the numerous awards Laffont received are the Overseas Press Club of America's Madeline Dane Ross Award, the World Press Photo General Picture Award, University of Missouri's World Understanding Award, and an award from the New York Newspaper Guild. In 1996, he was honored with the French Order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. Glitterati, Inc. won a Lucie Award for Book Publisher of The Year for Jean-Pierre’s Laffont's Photographer’s Paradise.
Press for Photographer’s Paradise: Libération, October 21, 2014