Depth of Field, volume 7, no. 1 (December 2015)Raphaële Bertho: On Both Sides of the Ocean – The Photographic Discovering of the Everyday Landscape. Analyzing the Influence of the New Topographics on the Mission photographique de la DATAR

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Abstract

The influence of the American photographers represented in the now famous New Topographics exhibition (1975) on the orientation of European photographers from the 1980s is regularly presented as obvious, particularly in the context of the famous Mission photographique de la Délégation à l’Aménagement du Territoire et à l’Action Régionale (DATAR: Delegation for Territorial Planning and Regional Action, 1984-88). This statement raises some important historiographical questions on the conditions and the nature of this transnational relationship. It should be examined how and why a visual reflection on the North American territory, grounded in the New World’s own history and mythology, was also applied to the Old World. In order to develop a reflection on the relationship between two different periods and cultural areas, this essay moves in concentric circles, by analyzing the very nature of these two photographic moments, their relationship, their inclusion in a photographic history and more widely in the visual representation of the territory.