The Musée de l’Elysée collections include prints covering a wide variety of photographic processes from the 19th to the 21st century, from daguerreotypes to digital prints.
Whether major names in the medium, lesser known or anonymous, the photographers represented in the collection also left traces of their modus operandi – the negatives, contact sheets, slides and prints preserved in the archive complete our perspective of their work.
The museum’s collections cover all the different uses of photography - artistic or documentary, photojournalism or studio portraits, amateur or professional, private albums and travel photography.
Born in 1936 in Lausanne, Luc Chessex graduated from the Ecole de photographie in Vevey. In 1961, he left Switzerland for Cuba where he worked as a photographer at the Consejo Nacional de Cultura in Havana, documenting the revolution and making portraits of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Back in Lausanne in 1975, he worked as a freelancer. From 1978 to 1981, he went on assignments to Africa for the International Committee of the Red Cross. He turned a world tour that lasted several years into an exhibition and a book, Around the World (Lutz Verlag, 1999).
Leo Fabrizio Leo Fabrizio is born in 1976 in Moudon. Of both Swiss and Italian nationality, he completed his studies at the Haute école d’art et de design, Lausanne ( ECAL ), where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree as an HES designer in visual communication, with honours in 2002. In 2004, he published his first monographic book, ‘ Bunkers ’, which became very successful. He has exhibited throughout Europe, including at the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale.
Born in 1981, Matthieu Gafsou lives and works in Lausanne. Following a university education (Master’s degree in history and film aesthetics, philosophy and literature), he studied photography at the Ecole d’arts appliqués in Vevey. Since 2006, he has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States. He received the 2009 HSBC Foundation for Photography award and was included in the exhibition reGeneration2, organised by the Musée de l’Elysée. He published the book Surfaces with Actes Sud in 2009.
Born in 1981 in Vevey, Yann Gross lives and works in Switzerland. He studied at the Haute école d’art et de design in Lausanne (ECAL). In 2008, American Photo magazine quoted him as one of the thirteen new talents of photography. Among his solo exhibitions, there has been Horizonville (Winterthur, Madrid, Vilnius in 2009 and Arles in 2011). Yann Gross is a member of the ‘ Piece of Cake ’ collective of photographers.
Since 2003, Pieter Hugo portrays the everyday life in South Africa, as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa, two territories that he is particularly familiar with. Showing the legacy of the demise of Apartheid, its consequences on the people as well as on the landscape, issues such as the implications of global trading and post-colonialism in Africa give sense to a work that has brilliantly evolved in less than ten years to reach full international recognition (exhibition reGeneration, KLM Paul Huf Award, nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012).
Steeve Iuncker was born in 1969 and lives and works in Geneva. He graduated from the Vevey School of Photography and has been a member of the Agence VU’ since 2000, dividing his time between press photography and his own projects. At the core of his photographic approach are issues such as the place of death, prostitution and esthetics in society, and the way in which conflict zones are portrayed today. Steeve Iuncker’s work has been shown at festivals and in numerous museums and galleries in Europe and elsewhere, and he has published several books. He has also won various awards (the Swiss Photo Award/EWZ selection (Zurich) in 2000; and the Nicolas Bouvier 2012 award for his book A jeudi, 15h, Editions Le Bec en l’air).
Since 2015, the Musée de l’Elysée has housed his entire work A jeudi, 15h (See you on Thursday at 3), the subtly-crafted portrayal of a dying man. Between 2014 and 2016, the Musée de l’Elysée has been backing the project he is putting together entitled “Se mettre au monde”, devoted to today’s teenagers’ rites of passage. The exhibition Into the World is being held between May 25th and August 28th 2016 at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne.
Frank Schramm was born in 1957 and lives in New York. He started his career in fashion photography, working with photographer Albert Watson before being commissioned by Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar and other magazines. Fascinated by how photography can transcend reality, influenced by Irving Penn - especially his still lives - he has produced many personal projects on places and objects of everyday life. His series ‘Plane Sights’ (1989-1993), that show aircraft in flight, now appears as a surprising echo of his work on the 11 September events. This series was exhibited at the Musée de l'Elysée in 1995 and is part of the collections of many institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York; Los Angeles County Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
For a period of ten years, Italian photographer Carlo Valsecchi (1965) has been creating imagery on a monumental scale. Although these works owe a debt to the influential German school of industrial landscape, Valsecchi has followed his own path, creating fascinating images which hover between the documentary genre and poetic abstraction. Carlo Valsecchi lives and works in Milan, and has involved himself in major projects in Italy, Argentina, Mexico, Russia, and various countries in Europe.
Paolo Woods was born of Canadian and Dutch parentage. He grew up in Italy, lived in Paris and is now based in Haiti. Paolo Woods ran a laboratory and a photo gallery in Florence, Italy, before dedicating himself to documentary photography. He is devoted to long-term projects that blend photography with investigative journalism. His work is regularly featured in the main international publications. He has received various prizes including two World Press Photo Awards, the Alstom prize for Journalism, the GRIN prize in Italy and the Magnum Emergency Fund.
Sebastião Salgado, an economist by training, became a photographer by vocation. The interest of his work is notably due to his aesthetic approach of photojournalism. His photographs, of a very classical nature, celebrate the working life of peasants and workers, with a perspective of social transformation.
166 original prints are part of the collection of the Musée de l'Elysée.
Christine Spengler, French photographer, showed her talents as a reporter in a profession where women were few and far between. Her images of the Iranian revolution and the bombing of Phnom Penh by U.S. aircraft are among the most remarkable testimonies to the contemporary events covered by many photographers. Keen on witnessing what she saw as ‘just causes’, Christine Spengler has spent twenty-five years photographing a world torn apart by conflict.
The Musée de l'Elysée owns 90 of her original photographs.
Author of documentary films as well as photographic reports, Raymond Depardon occupies a special place in the history of documentary photography. Through a highly original approach, he developed a body of work that closely combines text and image. He was both co-founder of the Gamma agency - with Gilles Caron - and a member of the Magnum agency.
The Musée de l'Elysée has 75 of his original prints in its collection.
Mario Giacomelli is recognized as one of the most important Italian photographers. He proved to be very creative in all areas: portraits of peasants of the Abruzzo, rural landscapes, still lives and documentary photographs in hospices. He reproduced the landscapes of the 1980s, giving them a new dimension with aerial photography, creating one of the most original series in the history of this photographic genre.
The Musée de l’Elysée owns an exceptional portfolio of 174 of his original prints.
Trained as a painter, Geraldo de Barros discovered, through photography, abstraction of which he became one of the main exponents in Brazil. He then redirected his career to painting and design. Holder of a scholarship, he spent two years in France, after which he became one of the leaders of the Art concret international movement.
195 of his prints are housed in the collection of the Musée de l'Elysée.
Lucia Moholy, Czech photographer, opened a portrait studio in Weimar in 1923, where her husband, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy taught at the Bauhaus. During this period she made portraits of Gropius, Kandinsky, other representatives of the Avant-garde and colleagues of her husband at the famous art school. Her photographs of architecture and decorative arts reflect modernist aesthetics in their heyday.
203 of her photographs were donated to the Musée de l'Elysée.
John Phillips, American photographer, best known for the photographic report he made of the last days of Saint-Exupéry in 1944 at the Alghero Air Base in Sardinia, which were published in several languages. This great reporter and war correspondent for Life magazine is also the author of unique images on the Anschluss, the rebellion led by Tito, the liberation of the concentration camps and the creation of Israel seen from the Arab point of view. Few world events escaped this photographer's lens.
1,434 original prints enrich the collection of the Musée de l'Elysée.
John Phillips, Mythologies | Video
French photographer, he began training in 1964 as a fashion photographer before joining the Gamma agency in 1967. He undertook photographic assignments in Israel, Vietnam, Biafra, Northern Ireland, Czechoslovakia and Sahel and he also covered the events in Paris in May 1968. He died at the age of 30 in Cambodia.
144 prints were donated by the Gilles Caron Foundation in October 2010 and are housed in the collection of the Musée de l’Elysée.
Gabriel Lippmann, a French physicist, conducted research in optical light radiation. This research led to the invention of a process which in some respects is similar to holography: interference photochromes, also known as Lippmann plates. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1908 for inventing this colour process.
The 133 landscapes, portraits and still lives owned by the museum constitute a unique series of colour photographs made by Lippmann himself.
English photographer Francis Frith, became known through his photographs of landscapes and travel photographs. After visiting Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, Frith went to Switzerland in 1865, where he took numerous picturesque views aimed at tourists. He created his own publishing company and marketed products as diverse as stereoscopic and photogravure images.
Hundreds of his valuable original prints are part of the collection of the Musée de l'Elysée.
Adolphe Braun is known as a photographer who worked at the court of Napoleon III and as an entrepreneur and founder of Ad. Braun & Cie (1876-1968). He excelled in the field of still life photographs and landscapes of Germany, Switzerland and France. His work on the Alps is among the most important in the history of photography. His documentary photographs about the opening of the Gothard railway are a good example. 160 original prints representing several genres by Braun are present in the collection of the Musée de l'Elysée.
Constant Delessert was one of the first photographers practising in Lausanne along with Friedrich von Martens and two members of his in-laws, Benjamin and Edouard Delessert, the latter being the author of the famous album ‘Six weeks on the island of Sardinia’ (1854) which the Musée de l'Elysée has in its collection. All these figures were members of the French Photographic Society. Constant Delessert is also known as a daguerreotypist.
Shelby Lee Adams, Richard Avedon, Gabriele Basilico, Valérie Belin, Mathieu Bernard-Reymond, Guy Bourdin, Daniele Buetti, Balthasar Burkhard, Olivier Christinat, Lynne Cohen, Martin Crawl, Stéphane Couturier, Donigan Cumming, Raphaël Dallaporta, Nicolas Delaroche, Nicolas Faure, Thomas Flechtner, Lee Friedlander, Luigi Ghirri, Ralph Gibson, Michael von Graffenried, Garry Gross, Béatrice Helg, Eikoh Hosoe, Monique Jacot, Steven Klein, Suzanne Lafont, LawickMuller, Annie Leibovitz, Helen Levitt, Ken Light, Christian Lutz, Loretta Lux, Ann Mandelbaum, Steven Meisel, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Nicholas Nixon, Suzanne Opton, Tony Oursler, Martin Parr, Gilles Peress, Frank Schramm, Larry Sultan, Oliviero Toscani, Christian Vogt, Robert Walker, Andy Warhol, Sabine Weiss… (non-exhaustive list).