Jean-Louis Schoellkopf



07 April 18 June 2023

A coproduction with La Filature, Mulhouse

For over fifty years, Jean-Louis Schoellkopf’s photography work has focused on industry. After documenting a working-class culture under threat due to the transformation and decline of traditional activities passed down from the 19th century, he now focuses on the sector’s rebirth.

Jean-Louis Schoellkopf chose to settle in Mulhouse, a historic industrial centre, to document the transformations underway in labour organization, and in the landscape more generally.

In the context of the filing of his photographic archives, the Institut is accompanying the photographer on this new project and now presents its first part, dedicated to workers.

Jean-Louis Schoellkopf visited various production sites – textile, chemical, and electrical. Following his usual process, he invites the workers to pose however they wish before setting up his digital medium-format view camera on its tripod. These portraits, centred on each photographed subject, express their individuality. Their posture and the setting they chose also reflect their relationship to their work.

Together, they offer a broader view of this new industrial era. This reveals increased social diversity, and in particular an increased presence of women. It is also a sterile environment in which colour plays an important role, from the equipment to the uniforms. Its visual impact is optimized to codify workplace organization, with a new range of colours chosen to update the industry’s image.