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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Protest in Paris 1968

Photographs by Serge Hambourg

About the Artist

I was really impartial simply because my sympathy was with the students and their grievances rather than the political establishment. George Pompidou, who was Prime inisiter in 1968, would at the outset of his later presidential campaign set as a priority: every housewife would have a washing machine. This was his view of the future!

While I was a journalist, I had always worked as a documentary reporter, but at the same time as a photographer seeking to make personal creative work. I was covering events in 1968 for a left-leaning journal but also trying to make memorable images—not only by recounting the event but also by taking a true photograph, which in separate context could stand by itself.

These images are real because they are not posed (except for the portraits I did of Daniel Cohn-Bendit). My photographs don't show violence; some of them are even tender. One could say that my photographs can be considered, at one and the same time, both aesthetic and documentary.

It is true that I am interested in those "at the margins" of events: for example, rather than showing the demonstrators burning a car, I would prefer to show the consternation of the spectators (and then there was the danger that the police might recognized the protestors from the photographs).

—Serge Hambourg, July 2006

SERGE HAMBOURG is an independent photographer who in the 1960s and 1970s worked directly for the magazine Le Nouvel Observateur (1966­77). He has also worked as a producer of television films (1970-72) and as a publicity photographer for advertising agencies such as J. Walter Thompson and Young and Rubicam (1961-66). His photographs have been produced in books, magazines, and journals, including Paris Match, New York Magazine, Time, Vogue, Le Monde, Art in America, Fortune, Architectural Record, and many others. They are in the collections of museums including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the New-York Historical Society, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Hood Museum of Art. His work has been exhibited at museums and galleries around the world. From 1977 through 1992, he lived in New York City. He now lives and works in Paris.