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Jean-Philippe Charbonnier (1921-2004) - one of the most significant French photographers.


Was born in Paris in an artistic family. In 1939, the father gave him the first camera, and his neighbour, the cinema photographer Sam Lévin became his teacher and mentor. In de Second World War, Charbonnier trained in the photo studio of Blanc et Demilly, before going to Switzerland in 1943. In Switzerland, he met Jean Manevy with whom he studied typography and lay-out design. In 1944, he returned to France and became a typesetter for the newspaper Libération, while working at the same time as a freelance photographer. In 1950, he joined the monthly magazine Réalités, where he stayed until 1974. Charbonnier was a photographic globetrotter who travelled the world to photograph major events and famous people, and ascendsfrom daily life. In 1975, he left the magazine to become a freelancer again. In 1996, he received the Grand Prix de la photographie de la Ville de Paris. He died in Grasse in 2004.

Source: World Press Photo.

In the 1960s, with television beginning to replace the glossy magazines, Charbonnier turned increasingly to commercial photography, working for large companies such as Carrefour and Renault, freelancing for the Ministry of Labour and the World Health Organisation and also in the fashion industry, photographing Pierre Cardin, his fashions and models, from 1958. He taught photography in Paris at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Graphiques and also in England.


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