Armed with a smartphone, everyone is a photographer these days. To highlight the importance and the value that photojournalism adds to a publication, French newspaper Libération published a special issue without any pictures, and just empty frames in their stead.
The newspaper was laid out like a normal edition, but instead of the text wrapping around photographs that enhance the story visually, there was nothing but blank boxes. In a column about the issue, the paper’s culture writer Brigitte Ollier wrote:
A visual shock. For the first time in its history, Libération is published without photographs. In their place: a series of empty frames that create a form of silence; an uncomfortable one. It’s noticeable, information is missing, as if we had become a mute newspaper. [Anewspaper] without sound, without this little internal music that accompanies sight.
The issue coicided with the Paris Photo exhibition and also comes as timely commentary when so many newspapers are currently laying off photojournalists. The Chicago Sun-Times made headlines this year when they fired their entire team of full-time photographers, and CNN greatly reduced their photography staff in 2011, thanks to the rise in ‘citizen journalism’. But as the Libération edition shows, professional photography is still a vital companion to the written word. In the introduction to the issue on the front page, they wrote:
Our passion for photography has never been questioned — not because it’s used to beautify, shock or illustrate, but because photography takes the pulse of our world. To choose Paris Photo’s opening day to “install’ these white images highlights our commitment to photography. It’s not a wake, we’re not burying the photographic art [...] Instead we give photography the homage it deserves.
Check out images from the special edition below.
Images: British Journal of Photography