Anti-Communist in favor of the Vietnam War Man holding Burning Vietnamese flag, New York, 1966

Archival Pigment Print

20 x 16 in.

 

Jean-Pierre Laffont, Martin Luther King Portrait in front of the UN Building, Turbulent America, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

Martin Luther King, Jr with the UN Building reflecting in his eye, NYC, NY, April 15th, 1967

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

Chasing the Jazz Mobile, Harlem, New York City, July 1966

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

 

Aerial view of Empire State Building, Manhattan, NY, 1969

Archival Pigment Print 

16x 20 in.

A free performance of "Hair" in Central Park, Manhattan, NY, April 27th, 1969

Archival Pigment Print

20 x 16 in.

Martin Luther King, Jr's family at his funeral, Atlanta, GA, April 9th, 1968

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

Longest-kiss contestants show attitude at the first Gay Pride Parade, Manhattan, NY, June 28th, 1970

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

The Sing Sing Prison electric chair, Ossining, NY, November 1970

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

Protesting the Kent State Massacre, Washington, DC, May 9th, 1970

Archival Pigment Print

20 x 16 in.

Trustee and inmates at Arkansas State Penitentiary, Cummins Farm, AR, February 1968

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

 

Powder Ridge Rock Festival, Middlefield, CT, August 1st & 2nd, 1970

Archival Pigment Print 

20 x 16 in.

 

A woman faints at Martin Luther King Jr's funeral, Atlanta, GA, April 9th, 1968

Archival Pigment Print

20 x 16 in.

 

Prisoners picking cotton at Arkansas Penitentiary, Cummins Farm, AR, February 1968

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

 

Jean-Pierre Laffont, Yale University Protest view from the top of the crowd, Turbulent America, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

Yale students protest in support of Black Panthers on trial, New Haven, CT May 2nd, 1970

Archival Pigment Print 

16 x 20 in.

Jean-Pierre Laffont, Apollo XI Launch Crowd watching and taking photos, Turbulent America, Sous Les Etoiles

Apollo XI launch, Cape Kennedy, FL, July 16th, 1969

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

Jean-Pierre Laffont, Bob Kennedy reaching hand over car, Turbulent America, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

Robert Kennedy campaigning, Brooklyn, NY, December 1st, 1967

Archival Pigment Print

16x 20 in.

 

Jean-Pierre Laffont, Powder Ridge Naked women by the lake, Turbulent America, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

Powder Ridge Rock Festival, Middlefield, CT, August 1st & 2nd, 1970

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

 

Jean-Pierre Laffont, Attica Funerals people holding the Black Panther Salute, Turbulent America, Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

Attica Prison Riot funerals, Brooklyn, NY, September 25th, 1971

Archival Pigment Print 

16 x 20 in.

Longest-kiss contestants show attitude at the first Gay Pride Parade, Manhattan, NY, June 28th, 1970

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

Inquire

3 moods in US prisons: Rebellion, prayer, and abandon. Tombs Prison, Manhattan, November 1st, 1972

Archival Pigment Print

20 x 16 in.

 

White National Socialist Party celebrating Lincoln's birthday Washington, DC, February 12th, 1972

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

Anti-Vietnam War protestor, Miami, FL, August 23rd, 1972

Archival Pigment Print

20 x 16 in.

 

Muhammad Ali menacing Joe Frazier before rematch, Madison Square Garden, NY, January 23rd, 1974

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

 

Savage Skulls street gang walking their turf, Bronx, NY, July 20th, 1972

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

 

Savage Skulls street gang play-fighting, Bronx, NY, July 20th, 1972

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

"Summer of Love" at the Rock Festival, Watkins Glen, NY, July 28th, 1973

Archival Pigment Print

20 x 16 in.

 

Squatters living in the World Trade Center’s shadow, Manhattan, NY, October 1975

Archival Pigment Print 

20 x 16 in.

 

Lady Liberty under renovation for her centennial in front of the Manhattan skyline, New York City, NY, November 1985

Archival Pigment Print

20 x 16 in.

Teaching children to shoot, College Station, TX, June 1981

Archival Pigment Print

16 x 20 in.

Lady Liberty under renovation for her centennial, New York City, NY, November 1985

Archival Pigment Print 

20 x 16 in.

 

Press Release

Sous Les Etoiles Gallery is pleased to announce “Turbulent America,“ French-American photographer Jean-Pierre Laffont’s premiere exhibition with the gallery. An opening reception with the photographer in attendance will be held on Thursday, November 16, 6–8pm, and a gallery talk with Rick Smolan is scheduled for Monday, November 20 at 7pm. Best known as the co-creator of the “Day in the Life” book series, Rick Smolan is also a former TIME, LIFE, and National Geographic photographer.

 

“Turbulent America” represents a selection of Jean-Pierre Laffont’s work from the 1960’s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. Laffont’s photographs capture the genuine sense of what it was like to live in America during these decades. Laffont says, “Taken together, the images show the chaotic, often painful birth of the country we live in today.”

 

As a photographer for the Gamma Agency and Sygma Photo News, Laffont traveled across the country to portray the America that he saw with an insatiable curiosity. Laffont’s work embodied the popular slogan of the time; “the personal is political.” His photographs provide viewers with an unaltered look into American life, from protests for and against the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movements marching on Washington, Nixon’s departure from the White House, the Flower Power movement, the first gay pride parades, or even New York gangs. While “Turbulent America” represents an America in flux, it also gets to the heart of what it means to be American; highlighting the complexity and diversity that was so integral to American counterculture.

 

In Laffont’s words “The ambiance in the country was one of optimism. The Vietnam War was going to end; peace treaties had been signed in January 1972. For American youth, it seemed that if the 1960s were about protest, the 1970s were about fun. The hippie generation is gone now but has impact-ed our way of life in profound ways. Hippies rejected middle-class values, opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War, championed sexual liberation and favored peace, love and personal freedom.”

 

Laffont’s dedication to journalistic integrity has created a wide scope of work, exploring the margins of society, and chasing overlooked stories. Laffont immersed himself in American culture, working on the ground, and going behind the scenes looking for the best stories. He photographed prisoners suffering mistreatment at the hands of guards, local groups of citizens who worked to keep drugs out of their neighborhoods, the hardships of American farmers.

“Turbulent America” portrays a country that is torn by civil war, racial inequality, and violence, but one that is also filled with hope, optimism and growth. Speaking about these images Laffont comments, “They do what photographs do best: freeze decisive moments in time for future examination. These photographs form a personal and historical portrait of a country I have always viewed critically but affectionately, and to which I bear immense gratitude.”

 

Born in 1935, Jean-Pierre Laffont studied photography at Arts et Métiers in Vevey, Switzerland before immigrating to the United States in 1965 where he began his career as a photojournalist. After joining the Gamma agency, he started to cover political and social movements such as the riots against the war in Vietnam or the Civil Rights Movement. In 1973, alongside his wife Eliane, he co-founded Sygma Photo News, which rose to the top of the list of press agencies. 

 

During the next three decades, Jean-Pierre Laffont became a White House Correspondent, covered the Watergate scandal and carried out numerous political and social reportages throughout the United States as well as internationally in Eastern Europe, the USSR, China, Japan, India, Africa, and other countries. His images have appeared in such major international magazines as TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times, Paris Match, Figaro, and Stern, among several others.

 

In 1979, he received World Press Photo Award’s first prize for his seminal photographic essay on the subject of child labor around the world—the first of its kind. In 1996, he was honored with a retrospective of his work at Visa Pour L’Image and was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. The two most recent books by Jean-Pierre Laffont are New York Up and Down, released in August 2017, and Turbulent America 1960-1990, released in 2014, both published by Glitterati.

 

For press or image inquiries, please contact Sous Les Etoiles Gallery at 212.966.0796 or info@souslesetoilesgallery.net.

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