A programme of support unique in France

The Institute’s research and creation support programme aims to develop, share and compare diverse approaches to photography – the history of photography, image anthropology, visual studies, digital humanities, human and social sciences, science, plastic arts research, etc.
The call for applications is open to doctoral students, university or independent researchers, exhibition curators and artists who are available for the committed year. The projects – publication, exhibition, design of works – must address the announced theme, and the Institute will be particularly interested in projects that focus on an issue, a programme or resources connected with the Hauts-de-France Region.

The Institut pour la photographie awards four annual grants of 15,000 euros for the design and execution of a new project.
These include scientific and structural support, and are part of a promotion/dissemination programme (about four papers, presentations or workshops spread over the year) organised by the Institute, in collaboration with its partners, in the Hauts-de-France Region or beyond.

One theme a year

For its third edition, the Institut pour la photographie proposes to question the links between photography and Politics of the Earth.

Four laureates by edition

Théodora BaratFour Corners
Grégory ChatonskyDéTerre
Sarah Ritter, L’ombre de la terre
Ana VazLe Jaguar Bleu

A jury of experts

Keren Detton
Director of FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais
Christian Joschke
Professor of Art History and Photography at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, founder of the magazine Transbordeur. Photography history society
Anne Lacoste
Director of the Institut pour la photographie
Véronique Terrier-Hermann
Head of the Research and Creation Support Programme of the Institute for Photography

Previous editions

Photography, object of diffusion
Photographs and visual cultures of the imaginary.

2021 edition

Photography and Politics of the Earth

The research and creation support programme aims to develop diverse approaches to photography. For the third edition, the Institut has proposed to turn towards the Earth, now understood in its power of hospitality with regard to today’s ecological issues.

The theme of photography and the politics of the earth enabled us to discover 96 projects on an international scale, many of which were very interesting and demanding, and which met the criteria of the call. Nevertheless, after long and rich discussions, the jury selected 4 projects that the Institut will accompany throughout the year.

The research and creation projects of the winners below will take into account the different aspects of the creation of the subject photography and politics of the Earth.

The laureates


Four Corners

Fours Corners deals with the footprint of US nuclear research in the eponymous region formed by four adjoining states: Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. This region was built around uranium: mining, bomb design during World War II and the Cold War, and now radioactive waste management.
Dissecting this scientific-military-industrial complex, Four Corners questions the desert as the ultimate testing ground and posits these radioactive ruins as the last monuments of our civilization.

Théodora Barat is a graduate of the Beaux-Arts de Nantes and Le Fresnoy – Studio National des Arts Contemporains. She is currently developing a research and creation thesis within the RADIAN doctoral programme.
Théodora Barat’s work mixes film, photography and installation. Working on the permeability between these different media, she brings narration to one, volume to the other. She is interested in changing environments, in those ultimate moments when the artificial landscape becomes a sign. She auscultates the figures of modernity, dissecting its chimeras in order to question our future.
Her work has been presented at the Cneai, the Emily Harvey Foundation (New York), at Nuit Blanche (Paris), at the Friche de la Belle de Mai (Marseille), at Mains d’Œuvres (Saint-Ouen), at the Palais de Tokyo, the Villa Médicis and in many international festivals. She was the winner of the Audi talents Prize (2016) and the Face / Étant Donnés scholarship (2020).

Find Theodora Barat’s work on her website and her Instagram profile.


DéTerre Corners

“There’s another world, but he’s in this one.”
Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler

With DéTerre, Grégory Chatonsky continues a reflection begun with Télofossiles in Taipei and Wuhan, then Terre Seconde at the Palais de Tokyo, linking artificial intelligence and extinction. The aim is to experiment the consequences of Artificial Intelligence on the automation of representation. For if artificial neural networks feed on photographs, they produce a realism that is no longer photographic. This closure of realism inherited from the industrial revolution produces images of images and comes to destabilise the very notion of truth.
It is from a device producing artificial images of a possible Earth and searching our planet for resembling images, that work sessions will open with theorists. These sessions, open to the public, will aim to explore the relationship between Earth and AI.

Since the mid-1990s, Grégory Chatonsky has been working on the Web, leading him to question the new fictions emerging from the network. In 2001, he began a series on dislocation, aesthetics, ruins and extinction as an inextricably artificial and natural phenomenon. Over the years, he has turned his attention to the capacity of machines to produce almost autonomously results that resemble human production.
These three issues have become convergent thanks to artificial imagination, which uses data accumulated on the Web as Artificial Intelligence learning material to produce a likeness. In the context of a possible extinction of the human species, AI then appears as an attempt to create a monument by anticipation that would continue after our disappearance.
He was a teacher at Le Fresnoy, UQAM and now at Artec. He was an associate researcher at ENS Ulm and Unige de Genève.

Find Grégory Chatonsky’s work on his site and his Instagram profile


L’ombre de la terre

L’ombre de la terre is a long-term project that originates in the exploration of contemporary knowledge production chains. A first chapter focused on research in optics, exploring light as a tool, as a research object and as an industrial issue.
The “laboratories” are seen as staging areas, spaces for the production of fiction. A bridge has been built between oceanographic research and optical research. The “depths” of the ocean respond to the mountains, which rose from the bottom of ancient oceans. After light as an object, the second chapter of The Earth’s Shadow will focus on the depths: terrestrial and maritime.
Photography has participated in the enterprise of reducing the earth to a calculable, quantifiable, homogeneous and undifferentiated space. In this sense, it is undoubtedly one of the least well-placed tools to produce a space of alteration of the capitalist order – to produce heterogeneity within the calculable and calculated space. But following Flusser, Sarah Ritter thinks that it is possible to use photography to open breaches, to puncture holes in maps, to darken the transparent and digitised horizon. Photography here is a poetics of the gaze.
How can photography propose other movements to the gaze than that of a reassuring and edged recognition?
This chapter, like the first one, will have several sources, with different companions on the road, such as the Oceanology Department of the University of Lille, its technological platform, the National Archives of the World of Work, and Elsa Dorlin with whom the artist will go to French Guiana, the first French region of contemporary mining extraction.

Sarah Ritter is a photographic artist. Her method is heuristic. In fact, the artist, a graduate of the Ecole supérieure de la photographie d’Arles and the Ecole nationale de Paris-Cergy, does not work in series, but by accumulating images that find their order and associative logic over time. The process is therefore a long one, allowing the photographs to mature and to match formally or metaphorically.
She published a monograph with Éditions Loco in 2019, “La nuit craque sous nos doigts”, accompanied by an unpublished piece by Christophe Fiat. Her work is present in two public collections, that of the FRAC Auvergne and that of the FNAC, since 2020. It has been shown in France (Centre photographique d’Ile-de-France, Rencontres d’Arles, Biennale de Mulhouse among others) and abroad (Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Mexico).
She is currently in residence at the Mignotgraphie printing house, with the Ministry of Culture, and co-directs the art research project “Leviathan” at the École supérieure d’art de Clermont-Métropole.
“L’ombre de la terre”, the first chapter of which was supported by the CNAP, is initially an exploration of the spaces of knowledge production, particularly research in optics. This second chapter, which is being initiated with the Institut pour la photographie of Lille, will focus on extraction, both contemporary and past, which mixes with those of the sciences.

Find Sarah Ritter’s work on her site


Le Jaguar Bleu

Le Jaguar Bleu follows the pre-Colombian anthropogenic soils of pre-Colombian origin in the Brazilian Amazon: terra preta, a compost that contradicts the colonial myth of virgin nature and reveals the Amazon forest as a garden maintained by the advanced agricultural techniques of the Amerindian peoples. Here the terra preta becomes a speculative figure for an anthropology that is (a)symmetrical between the peoples of the forest, those who cultivate and maintain this land, and the peoples of the laboratories, the scientists who study it with their vision machines

Ana Vaz is a Brazilian artist and filmmaker whose filmography is based on experimental collages of images and sounds, found and produced, to reflect on situations and contexts historically and geographically marked by stories of violence and repression.
The impact of colonialism and ecological ruin are the backdrop to his immersive “film-poems”. Expansion or consequence of her films, her practice can also be embodied in writing, critical pedagogy, installations, film programming or ephemeral events. His films have been screened and discussed in film festivals, seminars and institutions such as Tate Modern, the Palais de Tokyo, the Jeu de Paume, the Centre Pompidou, LUX Moving Images, New York Film Festival, Berlinale Forum Expanded, BFI, Cinéma du Réel, Courtisane

Find Ana Vaz’s work on her Instagram profile

2020 edition

Photographs and visual cultures of the imaginary

As a purveyor of allegorical or mythological imagery, Photography has quickly become a privileged mode of expression for creating a link between the symbolic and the real. It captures the collective imaginations rooted in the oldest myths or beliefs in the most futuristic worlds (rites, legends, utopias, scientific imagery, urban fantasies, UFOs, science fiction, etc.).

Omnipresent in both our popular and scholarly imagery, these representations contribute to our awareness of the present time; some even question their participation in the social and scientific construction of reality.

Between visual culture, visual anthropology, social sciences, current affairs politics and art history, we can grasp the way in which Photography triggers or reactivates shared narratives, as well as how it unearths or creates collective imaginations from all sides.

The research and creation projects of the laureates below will take into account the different aspects of the creation of photographs and visual cultures of the imaginary.

The laureates


True Faith

True Faith is a research on the phenomenon of apparitions of religious images in Italy, a country in which two thirds of the cases of apparitions recorded in the world occur. Through newspaper archives, I locate this “invisible geography”, I go to the places of the apparitions, I ask the inhabitants to tell me where the apparition took place and to tell me what they see. In collaboration with a socio-anthropologist, I collect all these testimonies. The photographic image thus becomes proof of something unprovable, a document of something that will always remain invisible to me.

After training in Archaeology at the University of Florence, Ezio D’Agostino studied photography at the Scuola Romana di Fotografia in Rome. His artistic approach is the result of his training as an archaeologist: he focuses on the historical and cultural stratification of the landscape, inviting the viewer to reflect on the construction systems of contemporary society and its imaginations. He lives in Marseille.

Find the artist’s work on his website and Instagram profile


Photographer: male name? A profession at the source of imaginations

While the gender stereotypes conveyed by visual culture have been repeatedly denounced, the question of their origin is often overlooked. This project aims to highlight the power relations that determine images, from their production to their reception. In particular, it studies the gendered hierarchies within the photographic professions. By analysing various objects (periodicals, photographs, films, etc.), it also examines the joint construction of social and visual norms. Finally, at the intersection of research and mediation, between historical heritage and contemporary issues, he questions the issues of image pedagogy through the question of the formation of the gaze and its gendered, social and political implications.

Véra Léon is the author of a doctoral thesis in educational sciences entitled “One is not born a photographer, one becomes one”. With a dual background in history at the ENS de Lyon and in photography and contemporary art at the University of Paris 8, she has been teaching at the University of Paris since 2015. She conducts research on the history of artistic training, and on gender in the photographic world.

Find the artist’s work on his Instagram profile

De Beyter

The Skeptics

The Skeptics is a long-term research based on an amateur practice derived from ufology, the scientific ufology. The project brings together films, photographs and objects and is divided into four chapters (the first two were exhibited at the Prix découverte des Rencontres d’Arles, 2019). The support of the Institute will enable the next two to be carried out: R.O.T.G. (Relics Of Technological Goddess), a photographic survey of the iconographic collections of the French associations of this science of appearance (including the Groupe ufologique du Nord); and Magical Places, a series of photographs requiring staging processes, experimentation on negatives, or 3D integration, in order to exploit, like sets, the landscapes of the Canary Islands or certain specific American sites.

David De Beyter, a former student artist from Le Fresnoy, lives and works in Tourcoing. His approach to photography, both conceptual and documentary, is mainly based on landscape practices in relation to the different statuses of the image. His work Big Bangers has been selected for the prestigious FOAM Talent exhibition between Amsterdam, Paris, New York, London and Frankfurt, and is the subject of several publications by RVB Books, including Damaged Inc. in 2018.

Find the artist’s work on his website and Instagram profile


Tame the abyss? Photography, speleology and underground imaginations

While aerial photography and its impact on the perception and representation of our environment has been the subject of research, underground photography remains an unthought. Under the banner of vertical exploration, it is nevertheless based on the same desire to discover and share new perspectives on the world by testing the standards of photographic practice. Based on the study of the activities of Édouard-Alfred Martel (1859-1938), an ardent promoter of modern speleology, this research project aims to understand how, with what intentions, according to what modalities and with what effects photography has reconfigured the visual culture of the imaginary underground world, from the theories of the Hollow Earth to representations of the mining universe, since the end of the 19th century.

Born in Lille in 1980, Laureline Meizel holds a doctorate in Art History from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Since 2006, she has been conducting research on the relationships between photography and publishing in the 19th and 20th centuries, in which her publications and teaching at the university and at the EHESS are involved. In this capacity, she was notably awarded the Roland Barthes Prize in 2008 and is currently a member of the editorial board of the journal Photographica.

2019 edition

Photography, object of diffusion

To understand how photography has transformed our mode of access to knowledge, culture and information, we need to ask ourselves about the factors of the dissemination of photographs:

The materiality of images is an essential factor in the transmission and circulation of photography. The materiality of the images is essential to the transmission and circulation of photography. The processes, reproducible or non-reproducible, the editing, the indexing of contents, the format of the images exhibited, the places where they are seen. From printing to books to digital tools, from agency business to shared photography, the history of dissemination through photography is the history of material objects.

At the same time, studying photography as an object of dissemination also means making visible the networks and the socio-economic conditions of their production, as well as the conditions of their mediation (popularizers, commercial agents, publishers).

In response to this call, the candidates have developed a singular approach, whether in the form of theoretical or plastic research, by responding to the theme of photography as an object of dissemination.

The laureates


Cinema in the spirit of Pierre Zucca

Exploring the photographic work of Pierre Zucca (photographer on the sets of films by Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock, etc.) through its invisible or unmatched contours, the research will take different forms, from photography to cinema and performance.

Aurélien Froment is a graduate of the Regional School of Fine Arts in Nantes, a cameraman and film projectionist. His work is heavily influenced by cinema and features in exhibitions both in France and abroad.
He lives in Edinburgh where he teaches photography at the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh College of Art.

Find the artist’s work on his Instagram profile


Disseminating its own maps of the world and society

Agency photo collections having been used to develop editorial content in the televised news programmes of the former French broadcaster ORTF (1960-1986)

Audrey Leblanc is a doctor of the EHESS in history and civilisations. She was joint curator of the exhibition Icons of May 68: Pictures have a History in 2018 at the French national library (BnF). She teaches at the University of Lille and jointly leads the research seminar entitled ‘Photography, publishing, press: cultural history of image producers’ at Cehta/EHESS.

Find the artist’s work on his Instagram profile


Greetings from Reykjavik – Disseminated archives

Curatorial research project looking at letter writing in the experimental arts scene of Reykjavik in the 1960s and 1970s, which helped extend the reach of the local artistic community through the dissemination of visual documents – particularly photography – to a much greater network abroad. A practice which, today, could be likened to the dissemination of works of art via social networks.

Christel Pedersen has a research degree in the history of art from the University of Copenhagen and Paris 8 University. She currently lives in Paris, where she is an independent researcher, author and translator of artists’ poetry, theories and writings in English, French and Nordic languages.


Photography books and liberation movements in Africa

Somewhere between militant documents and aesthetic objects, the photography books produced around the 1970s in Portuguese-speaking African countries on – and for – independence movements offer a unique reflection on the role and power of the photograph. This project aims to retrace the journey of this corpus, through an exhibition, encounters and films.

Raquel Schefer is a researcher, film-maker and programmer. Doctor of the Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 University in Film and Audiovisual Studies.
She has published a large number of works and articles, and teaches at Paris, Rennes, Buenos Aires and Mexico City.
Catarina Boieiro has a Research Diploma in Arts and Languages from the EHESS.
She is an independent curator whilst at the same time working in communication, programming and production for art centres and cultural eventspecialised in image and contemporary visual arts