Exhibition marking the centenary of the foundation of the Photographic Section of the French Army, ECPAD (Establishment of Communication and Audiovisual Production of Defence).
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The Establishment of Communication and Audiovisual Production of Defence (ECPAD) and the Musée de l'Armée are offering a documentary exhibition starting on 10 February, located on the pillars of the Hôtel des Invalides' main courtyard, charting a century of army photography.
Since 1915, the ECPAD and its forerunners have provided institutional documentation – through photography, film and video – of military life and all the conflicts in which the French Army has participated. It preserves and also disseminates the audiovisual output produced by other services and units in the armed forces, thus building up a rich archive of ten million images, a hundred of which are on display in the exhibition.
The interest in the representation of war and soldiers' everyday lives has been part of the Musée de l'Armée's history since it was founded in 1905. In a dialogue with the battle paintings and historic objects (weapons, uniforms, pieces of equipment, historical souvenirs, etc.) in the permanent exhibition rooms, the photographs put the historical discourse back in context while presenting contemporaries' viewpoints on the events as they unfolded.
A photography exhibition
Built thematically, the exhibition shows the perspectives of official army photographers in the two World Wars, the decolonisation conflicts, the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and Mali, and the Haiti earthquake in 2010. In the form of twenty signs, it focuses on the context in which the images were produced and invites the public to consider how a photograph is constructed, the representation of war and the job of an official army photographer. Following a civic-minded approach – at a time when the news abounds with hard-hitting images of war and violence – this look back at a century of history through photography aims to give visitors the keys to deciphering its meaning.
- Anthony Petiteau, Head of Photography Collections at the Musée de l’Armée
- Emmanuel Thomassin, Head of the Archive Processing and Consultation Department at the ECPAD
Published by the ECPAD, the "100 ans de photographie aux armées" photo book is available at the ECPAD online shop.