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Photography at school

In 2001, the Maison de la Photographie Robert Doisneau launched Photographie à l’École (Photography at school),a project aimed at schools in Gentilly. Its scope was then widened to include all schools within the Communauté d’Agglomération de Val de Bièvre (Arcueil, Cachan, Fresnes, Gentilly, Kremlin-Bicêtre, L’Haÿ-les-Roses and Villejuif cities). This training programme, under the guidance of professional photographers, is part of the school curriculum for 300 pupils, i.e. 12 classes of children aged between 8 and 11. In 2011, the Maison Doisneau published La photographie par les enfants, (photography as seen though a child’s eyes)an impressive and truly magnificent 580-pages volume that bears witness to the children’s past ten years photographic production.

Every year the project leaders suggest a new work theme (The passage of time, Light and space, Neighbours, Writings...). Just like real reporters, the apprentice photographersexplore their environment, the town and its inhabitants, then question their intentions and how they want to approach the photo before pressing the shutter release. In this way, the pupils learn about such notions as distance, points of view, framing and light in terms of taking a photo, as well as the ideas or feelings they want the final image to convey.  

Photographie à l’École is a global experience for ‘seeing and understanding’: the technical questions are tackled at the same time as images are observed and analysed, whether during workshops or exhibition visits. The children can continue this work in class thanks to educational activities that cover various fields such as reading, writing, the visual arts and oral expression. This project is unique in the context of a cultural institution and the entirety of the resulting images go through a rigorous selection process leading up to an exhibition that is part of the Maison de la Photographie Robert Doisneau’s annual events programme.

La nature en ville, 2008-2009
Photo : Diklan, Inès, Jonathan, Nathalie, école Gustave Courbet, Gentilly 


Traces, 2009-2010
Photo : Catarina, Ilyas, Laetitia, Luis, William, Wisley, école Lamartine, Gentilly


Tout en Noir & Blanc, 2013-2014
Photo : Elies, Hui Qing, Karl-Livan, Mehdi, Melyssa, Tanya, Ugo
École Henri Wallon, Villejuif