For fifty years, we experienced the Gassmann saga. From “Pictorial Service” to “Picto”, Hervé Le Goff tells the story in “Pierre Gassmann, la photographie à l’épreuve”, published in 2000 by France Delory. Ten years later, his heir, Philippe Gassmann, chose a different concept more in tune with today’s economics and the evolutions of professional labs, “seeing with another’s vision”.
His idea was to gather testimonies from those who gave the lab its reputation. It turned into an exhibition at the Rencontres d’Arles in 2010, part of which will be on display at the Royal Monceau in March 2011. But it led to a book recently released by Actes Sud. “Picto 1950 – 2010, seeing with another’s vision” features 150 pictures with texts and testimonials gathered by Hervé Le Goff and an introduction by Christian Caujolle.
The photographers present include early participants and those that helped build the lab’s reputation. Among them, Henri Cartier-Bresson and the brand new Magnum agency. American photographers like Edward Steichen who forced “Pictorial Service” to stretch its quality boundaries. Impossible to list them all, but they included Edouard Boubat, Ernst Haas, Peter Knapp or Man Ray, Raymond Depardon, Sebastiao Salgado, Robert Capa and William Klein… But also more recently Eric Valli, Sarah Moon, Jean Noel Reichel, Florence Chevallier, Malick Sidibé or Yan Morvan and Marion Poussier…
It is the written history of the photographs and the photographers that came through this laboratory with testimonials by those who worked in the darkrooms, printers, retouchers, general technicians, making the prints, whether silver or digital, exist.
Correspondant for the French Institute