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Created in 2007, the NOOR photographic agency whose name means “light” in Arabic, brings together 14 outstanding and award-winning photographers of 11 different nationalities. On the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the agency, all of them have been generously drawing down their archives to donate some sixty prints to the BNF’s Prints and Photography department.

This body of work presented in the Galerie des donateurs reveals the excellence of NOOR, an independent structure which focused on documentary of quality basing on the challenging work of committed photographers around the world, driven by the true ethical values of the profession. The prints on display cover a wide variety of topics like the Arab Spring, the conflicts in Iraq or Chechnya, the diamond mines, American society or childhood… Most of them illustrate the portrait genre, reflecting as accurately as possible the motto of Stanley Greene, one of the agency’s founders, “some things simply need to be seen”, a motto whose imperative of observation was exceeded by the agency’s members to demonstrate their photographic commitment to the world around them. Indeed, if the NOOR photographers witness the changes of our society, for them it is not simply a question of seeing or showing but of calling for an exchange of points of view with this otherness which suffers, resists, fights and opens up to their lens.

Officially launched in September 2007 during the Visa pour l’image festival in Perpignan on the initiative of Stanley Greene and Kadir van Lohuizen who were soon joined by nine other co-founders including Pep Bonet, Yuri Kozyrev and Francesco Zizola, the birth de NOOR takes place in a media context where the codes of photo essay have been overturned, sometimes equally treating the simple witnessing of an event by an amateur photographer and a more detailed one that can be produced by a great photojournalist. For its members, it is about bringing light on forgotten places or populations the media lost interest of.

The creation of this agency in the form of a cooperative is all the more exceptional since some of its members are already renowned photoreporters who have had a career, notably at VU’. By their side, the writings of talented young photographers are unfolding and also bringing new creative perspectives. The NOOR photographers base their own requirements by pursuing the projects they estimate important, sometimes standing back from the burning issues.

By mixing temporalities, topics – elections, wars, ecology, sociological or economic research – but also writings, the some sixty prints exhibited at the BnF are showing the vision of photographers whose eyes are wide open on the upheavals of the world. Modest, proud, worried, serious or luminous, the gazes of the men, women and children addressing us in these photographs attest to the quality of the attention to their condition paid by the members of NOOR.

photographs by COLLECTIVE

From 13/04/2022 to 05/06/2022
Quai François-Mauriac
75013 PARIS

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