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In Pictures: La Présidentielle

The French presidential election, as seen through the lens of two of France's most experienced photographers of presidential politics.

by Ophelia Noor On May 11, 2012

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À propos de l'auteur

Photographe et journaliste, j'embarque à bord de la soucoupe en octobre 2010. Je copilote depuis la rentrée 2011 de la direction artistique d'Owni avec Loguy Batonboys et je suis chargée de l'édition photo.


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Political photojournalism today requires serious real time capabilities to get around the mechanisms that the candidates’ communications teams build around them. Jean-Claude Coutausse and Cyril Bitton have been working as political photographers for over ten years. Members of Fedephoto, in the run up to this year’s French presidential election they created an informal collective called French Politics along with fellow photographers Olivier Coret, Marc Chaumeil, Laurent Hazgui and Caroline Poiron. Over a period of several months, each of them followed at least one candidate on the campaign trail on behalf of various newspapers and magazines. Jean-Claude Coutausse has been covering presidential elections since 1988, and Francois Hollande since the last summer, exclusively for the Le Monde newspaper. Cyril Bitton has been following the Front National party for a decade and Marine Le Pen since her inauguration as party leader in January 2011.

Front National candidate Marine Le Pen with advisors and security staff, Paris, January 2012. ©Cyril Bitton

Socialist Party candidate François Hollande, Corrèze, January 2012. ©Jean-Claude Coutausse

UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, Lille, February 2012. ©Cyril Bitton

Green candidate Eva Joly, Paris, March 2012. ©Cyril Bitton

Front National candidate Marine Le Pen, Paris, January 2012. ©Cyril Bitton

A poster for Front de Gauche (Left Front) candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, 2012. ©Cyril Bitton

Condoms bearing the slogan 'Eva Joly, the Candidate who Protects' at a campaign rally in Strasbourg, March 2012. ©Cyril Bitton

Supporters of Front de Gauche candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon gather in Paris, March 2012.

Marine Le Pen onstage with her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, as she is inaugurated as leader of the Front National party, Tours, January 2011. ©Cyril Bitton

Green candidate Eva Joly with supporters, Paris, April 2012. ©Cyril Bitton

Defaced François Hollande posters, 2012. ©Cyril Bitton

And a few from the archives….

RPR candidate Jacques Chirac, Paris, March 1988. Chirac was defeated by Socialist Party candidate François Mitterrand. ©Jean-Claude Coutausse

Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal, Frangy-en-Bresse, August 2006. Royal was beaten by the UMP's Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round of voting. ©Jean-Claude Coutausse

Socialist Party candidate Lionel Jospin, Toulouse, March 1995. Jospin was beaten into third place by Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of voting. ©Jean-Claude Coutausse

Socialist Party candidate François Mitterrand at a rally in Lyon, April 1988. ©Jean-Claude Coutausse


All images used with permission, all rights reserved.

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