Jean-François Gallois, a generous man
In the world of Photography, there are men who help considerably the lesser known photographers. Jean-François Gallois, the director of Central Color, is one of them. Year after year, he prints for free a certain number of exhibition photos for photographers or for festivals with limited funding. Jean-François Leroy, director of “Visa pour l’Image”, Perpignan, is one of them as well. He explains.
La Lettre de la photographie asked me to describe « my labs »… So, let’s begin with Central Color. Let’s trace, quickly, the history….
Founded in 1952 by Lucien Lorelle, who handed over the laboratory two years later to his daughter, Françoise Gallois, who then ran it until her retirement.
Excuse me if I tell a very personal story, but one that sums up, better than any other, the spirit of Central Color. In 1989, during the launching of Visa pour l’Image, Madame Gallois was the first –and the only one!- to support the initiative. When she entrusted the destiny of the lab to her son Jean-François Gallois, in 1997, she invited me to have lunch with him for our first meeting. Upon arrival to the restaurant she introduced me as follows: “Jean-François Leroy is the only client that never pays his invoices, but we still invite him for lunch”. There it is. In this anecdote, all of the Gallois’ enthusiasm, generosity and passion for the world of photography and photographs.
Jean-Francois Gallois has presided over the destiny of Central Color ever since. Needless to say that the situation he found upon his arrival is not the same anymore… Some figures sum up clearly the cataclysm of which the labs had to face.
When he arrived, Central would develop more than 2,000 rolls of films per day. Today, hardly 300.
During that time, revenues of duplicates were around 110,000 euros per month. Today, hardly 1,500 euros.
In 1997, there were 15 black and white printers. Today there’s only 2. In black and white, 95% of the copies are barium prints, made for exhibitions or selling of prints.
Few sectors had to face such a crisis! Central Color has adapted. Always upholding excellence in gelatin-silver prints, but also the best in digital. Large formats, collages, framing, everything is possible. I won’t tell you the whole list of the available services, as it would be too long and fastidious. Just to tell you that you can go with confidence. It is a satisfied client that recommends!
Oh, I almost forgot! Central Color shares its passion and the proof is all of the festivals in which they participate, without considering Visa pour l’Image of course, for whom they are one of the most faithful sponsors. We will certainly run into them in Arles, in Gacilly, in Vanne, in Monthier-en-Der…
Without counting the very numerous exhibitions in Paris, such as the one on Marc Riboud in Polka, Olivier Martel on the gates of the Senate, etc. Moreover, the number of photographers that we see in Central, sometimes passing by for no reason, shows clearly at which point they feel at home to share their passion.
And not to mention, Jean-François Gallois does not forget the young generation and maintains close collaborations with many photography schools.
Well, I’ve reread this text. I decided to write something that would not seem like a advertorial, and I failed. But it’s sincere.
Jean-François Leroy, director of Visa pour l’Image, Perpignan