Jean-Pierre Laffont

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Jean-Pierre Laffont
Residence Manhattan, New York
Occupation Photojournalist
Known for Contributing to major publications such as LIFE, Time, Newsweek and Manchete
Notable work Photo essay on child labor
Spouse(s) Eliane Laffont
Children 1
Awards The Madeline Ross & World Press Photo Award

Jean-Pierre Laffont (born 1935 in Algeria) is a photojournalist, based in New York City, and was the founding member of Gamma USA and Sygma, the largest photography agency in the world, which in 1999 was acquired by the Corbis Corporation.[1]


Born in Algeria in 1935, Jean-Pierre Laffont attended high school and college in Morocco, where he graduated in 1955.

In 1959, he received his Master's Degree in Photography from Europe's prestigious School of Arts et Metiers in Vevey, Switzerland.

In 1960, Laffont graduated from Military Infantry Academy, in Cherchell (Algeria), where he was a Press Officer, and then proceeded to serve in the French Army as a Commanding Officer in the Oran region in the Algeria War throughout April 1962. He then returned to Paris, where, from 1962 to 1964, he began assisting photographers Sam Levin and Choura, renowned for their photographs of celebrities and movie stars. It was in this period of time that Laffont started to work in portraiture and fashion photography, and was hired as special photographer on movie sets for MGM in Rome.

In 1965, he arrived in the United States and began his career as a photojournalist,[2] and worked as a staff photographer for Status Magazine.

In 1966, he married Eliane Lucotte and in 1970 they had a daughter, Stephanie, born in Nice (France), who is now a professional artist living in New York City.

Laffont then became the first Foreign Correspondent for Gamma Press Images, and in 1970, with his wife Eliane Laffont, opened the U.S. office of Gamma Press Images agency.[3] Laffont covered historical American events, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the Race Riots, the Vietnam War, the peace movement, as well as the gay and feminist movement.

In 1973, Laffont was one of the co-founders of the Sygma Photo News agency.[4] His work expanded to the coverage of international events in Japan, Korea, Africa, India, China, the Middle East, Poland and the U.S.S.R. During those years, deeply touched by the suffering endured by children, he, from 1970-1980, made a major reportage on child labor throughout the world. The photographs he brought back from those countries were the first global photo essay on child labor and the most eloquent and cruel testimonials. Jean-Pierre has won the most prestigious awards in photojournalism for this series, including the Overseas Press Club's Madeline Dane Ross Award and first prize in the World Press General Picture category.

During the 80's, still photographing around the world, his work particularly focused on the U.S agricultural crisis, scientific research and world economy, mostly in Eastern Europe, the USSR, China, India and Third World countries. His photographs have been featured in major publications worldwide: Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Paris Match, Le Figaro Magazine, Stern, Bunte, Época, the London Sunday Times and Manchete, his work has also gained high recognition through numerous awards.

In 1999, Corbis acquired Sygma and Jean-Pierre Laffont was appointed General Director of Corbis Sygma in the U.S.

In 2000, he left Corbis and was hired by Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. as General Manager of Gamma Press USA.

Jean-Pierre Laffont currently resides in New York City with his wife Eliane, his daughter Stephanie, his son-in-law Joe Urla and his granddaughters Sparrow and Silvie.

Awards & Honors[edit]

  • 1962 – Award for humanitarian actions during the Algerian War.
  • 1979 – World Press Photo: 3rd Prize, General News[5]
  • 1980 – First Prize: New York Newspaper Guild, for "Child Labor"; Overseas Press Club: Madeline Dane Ross Award, for originating the use of photography to raise awareness of child labor conditions around the world.
  • 1981 – University of Missouri: School of Journalism First Prize; Special Recognition Award: World Understanding; World Press Photo: Honorable Mention, News Feature.[6]
  • 1996 – French National Order: Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

Shows & Exhibitions[edit]

  • 1996 – Visa pour l'Image (Perpignan, France)/ Retrospective[7]
  • 2012 – Visa pour l'Image (Perpignan, France)/ projection of "Mon Algérie"



  • 1976 – CB Bible, Porter Bibb (Doubleday)
  • 1981 – Women of Iron (Playboy)[8]
  • 2008 – Jean-Pierre Laffont Foreign Correspondent (Editions C.D.P/France)
  • 2014 – Photographer's Paradise: Turbulent America 1960 - 1990 (JP Laffont Photography/ Glitterati)[9]


  • contributions to various volumes of A Day in the Life Series (HarperCollins)
    • 1986 - The Long March (Intercontinental)[10]
    • 1989 - Trois Jours en France(Nathan/France)[11]
    • 1992 - America Then & Now (Cohen/ HarperCollins)[12]
    • 1999 - Les 100 photos du Siècle (Editions du Chêne)[13]
    • 2003 - America 24/7 in Manhattan[14] (NY State)
    • 2011 - The New York Times magazine: Photographs (Aperture Foundation)
    • 2012 - 20 Years, Limited Edition (CDP)[15]
    • 2013 - 40 Ans de Photojournalisme: Generation Sygma[16](Editions de La Martinière/ France)


  1. ^ Balean, John. "PAN Special Report: The Sygma Preservation and Access Facility". International Picture Library and Agency News. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Laffont, Adam Sternbergh, Jean-Pierre. "The Photographer Who's Been Capturing Historic New York Moments for 50 Years". Vulture. Retrieved 2017-11-20. 
  3. ^ "Profile of Eliane Laffont". Hachette Filippacchi. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Eliane Laffont". Pictures of the Year International. 
  5. ^ "Year of the Child". World Press Photo. Archived from the original on 2014-03-25. 
  6. ^ "The Economic Depression". World Press Photo. Archived from the original on 2014-03-25. 
  7. ^ "Jean-Pierre Laffont Retrospective". Visa pour l'Image. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Cohn, Laffont, Suars, Nik, Jean-Pierre, Jean-Claude (1981). Women of iron: The world of female bodybuilders. Wideview Books. p. 159. ISBN 0872237273. 
  9. ^ "Jean-Pierre Laffont: Photographer's Paradise". zPhotoJournal. Retrieved 2017-11-20. 
  10. ^ China: The Long March (PDF). Intercontinental Publishing Corp. 1986. p. 320. 
  11. ^ Trois Jours en France. Editions Nathan. May 1989. ISBN 978-2092400418. 
  12. ^ Cohen, David (September 1, 1992). America then & now. HarperCollins. p. 232. ISBN 9780062501769. 
  13. ^ "Les 100 Photos du siècle: Les survivants des Andes - 1971 - Jean-Pierre Laffont". Centre de documentation du CLEMI. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Cohen, David Elliot (2003). America 24/7. DK ADULT. p. 304. ISBN 978-0789499752. 
  15. ^ "20 Years, Limited Edition". Visa pour l'Image. 
  16. ^ "40 ans de photojournalisme, Génération Sygma". Arret su le Monde. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 

External links[edit]