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Holding the Line

Thierry Gervais
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1In the previous issue of Études Photographiques, André Gunthert wrote in his editorial that leaving the journal was a difficult task. Twenty-two issues appeared during his tenure – more than 175 articles were published by an editor in chief who had his finger on the pulse of the latest research advances, who was always concerned with the scholarly rigor of every article, and who was intent on offering his readers unpublished images meticulously printed. When he left, Études photographiques was a well-oiled machine with an international advisory committee in a constant ‘state of alert,’ a dedicated editorial board, a highly capable copy editor, a committed publisher (the French Society of Photography), and numerous enthusiastic readers and subscribers. All that was left to do was take over the editorship – a difficult task.

2For Clément Chéroux and for me, it was inconceivable that the enterprise should come to a halt, an outcome that would have disappointed our readers and deprived both students and experienced researchers of the journal’s pages as a platform for presenting their work. Our first objective was to take up the torch, bringing with us the same high standards as our predecessor, ever mindful of the historical concerns upon which the journal has traditionally focused and continuing to ensure the relevance of its content. This current issue, too, reflects the diverse range of authors working in the field and strikes an appropriate balance between academics and curators of photography collections. In addition, we have made two innovations: we are making the journal accessible to English-speaking readers, and further exploiting the distinct strengths of our online and print platforms.

3We will continue the translation policy that has been in place since the journal’s inception by publishing authors from Germany, the United States, and Canada. While the journal enjoys a sizeable international readership, and while many foreign scholars and researchers possess a command of the French language, the practice of publishing exclusively in French has placed limits on how wide an audience the content and research methods presented in previous issues were able to reach. From now on – thanks in large part to new partners such as Ryerson University in Toronto – each article will be published in both French and English. French-speaking readers will still find seven illustrated articles, but now with the journal’s page-count expanded to accommodate the English-language texts.

4Since 2002, Études photographiques has been partially accessible on the Internet via the web portal Starting with this issue, we will make more effective use of our two means of dissemination by assigning appropriate content to each. The journal’s semi-annual publication schedule has turned out be ill-suited for the book reviews, which need to respond with greater immediacy to events in the publishing industry. From now on, reviews will be briefly mentioned in the print edition but published in their entirety on our website four times a year. We are also expanding the visual component of the print edition by adding a ‘portfolio’ section. Twelve pages of every issue will be devoted to young photographers or prominent artists whose work has been selected by the editorial board. Olivier Menanteau inaugurates this new section with his series of photographs exploring the media policy of the United Nations. Thus, the print and online editions will complement and enrich one another, and both, in combination, will define the editorial position of Études photographiques.

5The challenge we faced was to both sustain and renew Études photographiques. While modes of research in France are being called into question by the government21, Études photographiques’ international peer review committee continues to meet twice yearly to examine and select new work in the field of visual history. Études photographiques carries on with these rigorous and effective rules of scholarly research as it performs its task of disseminating knowledge.


1  See, 174 (accessed April 15, 2009). For more on the subject, see Didier Rykner, ‘L’histoire de l’art n’existe pas (mais est-ce si grave?),’ La Tribune de l’art, January 17, 2009 (available online at; and André Gunthert, ‘Les revues prises dans le piège de l’évaluation,’ SLRU-EHESS, March 15, 2009,

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Référence électronique

Thierry Gervais, « Holding the Line », Études photographiques, 23 | mai 2009, [En ligne], mis en ligne le 18 mai 2009. URL : consulté le 17 juin 2018.


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