Guillaume
Herbaut

Guillaume Herbaut

biography


© Richard Dumas

French photographer, member of Agence VU’ since 2021, based in Paris (France).

While doing press assignments, his documentary work takes him to places marked by the past and presenting him with symbols and history to address in a bid to reveal dramas now invisible: Chernobyl, Auschwitz, Nagasaki, and, more recently, the conflict in Ukraine. His photographs have been exhibited in many festivals and venues (e.g. in Paris, at the Jeu de Paume museum, the Maison Rouge and la grande Arche du Photojournalisme).  Guillaume Herbaut has received a number of distinctions, including two World Press awards, a Visa d’or, the Niépce Prize (2011) and the Bayeux-Calvados award for war correspondents (2016, in the Web-journalism category, for his logbook on Ukraine produced by Arte Info).

“ Guillaume Herbaut has made photography embark on a process that is the reverse of current affairs coverage, extending on-the-spot reporting and adding scenes developed on a scale worthy of the narration of legends. To construct such an ambitious initiative, he has embraced the chronological and spatial dimension of both history in the making and History with a capital “H” where mankind grapples with human destiny. Subjects range from the glory of technology (nuclear power), instruments of power (weapons), and aspirations for democracy (revolution in Ukraine), to threats to health, base greed and the scourge of totalitarianism. Guillaume Herbaut has photographed the collapse of the modern-day Empire.

The power of pictures is a pivotal element in the shift from news to legend. Each key chapter written and comprising Guillaume Herbaut’s work stands as an exploration of the esthetic resources of photography and of the references built up over the two centuries that photography has existed; and it is an exploration of the possibility of using raw stories to imagine the world.

Guillaume Herbaut appears to be wondering whether photography can still be a source of edification. Yes, it can, when an original story and specific locations are transformed to attain universal scope. The Zone is the expression of decline, the Square the expression of hope, the naked body an iconoclastic version of The Origin of the World, bare breasts the image of future revolution. Guillaume Herbaut has dared; he has dared take photos in a way similar to the writing of tragedy. But catharsis is not for moral pronouncements; it is a means for us to visualize our fears.

As we pursue the photographic fresco, we can read Guillaume Herbaut’s log book, highlighting his role as a narrator. The relevant reference moves away from tragedy and towards the idea of epic theater as practiced by Bertolt Brecht: the actor addresses the audience directly, face to face. Speech creates the distance required to observe the dreadful events occurring on the world stage. The duty which photography has today is to depict events through realism that only photography can achieve, pointing to failings, noting impasses, while also noting prospects for hope, expressing sensuality both harsh and heroic. Guillaume Herbaut’s pictures, all of them, are like bad dreams, but wide awake. There is something deep inside his images that suddenly emerges on the surface: the foundation layer of the images that grips the eyes.

Could this be the final stage of photojournalism in its progress since the 20th century, a secular art, at the meeting point between things imaginary and things political?”

Michel Poivert –  Historian of Photography

Series


Ukraine, from Independence Square to the Donbas, 2019

Series | Since 2013, Guillaume Herbaut has been covering Ukraine and the war between advocates of the country moving closer to the European Union and those who are attached to their Russian links.

Mexico - Sinaloa, 2019

Series | In Mexico, the dead are counted in the tens of thousands, the missing fade away as if nothing had happened.

Sinaloa - The Gardens of Humaya, 2019

Series | In the state of Sinaloa, on the outskirts of the city of Culiacan, there is the cemetery of the Narcos: "the gardens of Humaya".

Weapons Shows (Work in progress)

Series | Just as lingerie or cars, tanks and missiles have their own shows. From Paris to Delhi, these events, known war shows, are little known to the general public but draw in great numbers of professionals from the defence industry.

Mexico - The Cartel War, 2017

Series | This is the second bloodiest conflict on the planet. In Mexico, the war against drug traffickers has claimed tens of thousands of lives. In Colima, a small Pacific coastal state, two of the most powerful cartels are vying for control of Mexico's largest port.

Geeks2, 2016

Series | Commissioned by Cnap and the association CéTaVoir, a creation of images with the young people of the city of Tergnier, members of the association Geeks2, to go even further into their imaginary world.

Larissa, 2016

Series | Chernobyl. Poliske, Ukraine. Her name was Kramarova Larissa Olexandrivna. 1961 - 2015

Femen the New Amazons, 2011

Series | Kiev, portraits of activists of the Ukrainian feminist group: Femen.

The Gates of Pripyat, 2011

Series | Pripyat, just three kilometers from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The front doors to their apartments as the only original features showing traces of past residents.

The Zone, 2011

Série| “There, in front of me, I can see the bridge covered in snow, the blue-tinged light at night, and wolf tracks. I have been in the Chernobyl exclusion zone for two days. I never wanted to go back. I am both attracted and repelled."

Mexico - Montaña, 2008

Series | The state of Guerrero - southern Mexico - is one of the most remote regions of the country. Its mountainous area, the Montaña, is mainly home to indigenous communities

7/7 : the Shadow of the Living, 2008

Series | 7 series for 7 stories of survivors

Tchernobylsty, 2001

Series | They used to live near Chernobyl, in the shadow of the nuclear power plant that symbolized the prowess which the great Soviet people had, their mastery of machinery.

Ukraine, from Independence Square to the Donbas, 2019

Series | Since 2013, Guillaume Herbaut has been covering Ukraine and the war between advocates of the country moving closer to the European Union and those who are attached to their Russian links.

Mexico - Sinaloa, 2019

Series | In Mexico, the dead are counted in the tens of thousands, the missing fade away as if nothing had happened.

Sinaloa - The Gardens of Humaya, 2019

Series | In the state of Sinaloa, on the outskirts of the city of Culiacan, there is the cemetery of the Narcos: "the gardens of Humaya".

Weapons Shows (Work in progress)

Series | Just as lingerie or cars, tanks and missiles have their own shows. From Paris to Delhi, these events, known war shows, are little known to the general public but draw in great numbers of professionals from the defence industry.

Mexico - The Cartel War, 2017

Series | This is the second bloodiest conflict on the planet. In Mexico, the war against drug traffickers has claimed tens of thousands of lives. In Colima, a small Pacific coastal state, two of the most powerful cartels are vying for control of Mexico's largest port.

Geeks2, 2016

Series | Commissioned by Cnap and the association CéTaVoir, a creation of images with the young people of the city of Tergnier, members of the association Geeks2, to go even further into their imaginary world.

Larissa, 2016

Series | Chernobyl. Poliske, Ukraine. Her name was Kramarova Larissa Olexandrivna. 1961 - 2015

Femen the New Amazons, 2011

Series | Kiev, portraits of activists of the Ukrainian feminist group: Femen.

The Gates of Pripyat, 2011

Series | Pripyat, just three kilometers from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The front doors to their apartments as the only original features showing traces of past residents.

The Zone, 2011

Série| “There, in front of me, I can see the bridge covered in snow, the blue-tinged light at night, and wolf tracks. I have been in the Chernobyl exclusion zone for two days. I never wanted to go back. I am both attracted and repelled."

Mexico - Montaña, 2008

Series | The state of Guerrero - southern Mexico - is one of the most remote regions of the country. Its mountainous area, the Montaña, is mainly home to indigenous communities

7/7 : the Shadow of the Living, 2008

Series | 7 series for 7 stories of survivors

Tchernobylsty, 2001

Series | They used to live near Chernobyl, in the shadow of the nuclear power plant that symbolized the prowess which the great Soviet people had, their mastery of machinery.

Ukraine, from Independence Square to the Donbas, 2019

Series | Since 2013, Guillaume Herbaut has been covering Ukraine and the war between advocates of the country moving closer to the European Union and those who are attached to their Russian links.

Mexico - Sinaloa, 2019

Series | In Mexico, the dead are counted in the tens of thousands, the missing fade away as if nothing had happened.

Sinaloa - The Gardens of Humaya, 2019

Series | In the state of Sinaloa, on the outskirts of the city of Culiacan, there is the cemetery of the Narcos: "the gardens of Humaya".

Weapons Shows (Work in progress)

Series | Just as lingerie or cars, tanks and missiles have their own shows. From Paris to Delhi, these events, known war shows, are little known to the general public but draw in great numbers of professionals from the defence industry.

Mexico - The Cartel War, 2017

Series | This is the second bloodiest conflict on the planet. In Mexico, the war against drug traffickers has claimed tens of thousands of lives. In Colima, a small Pacific coastal state, two of the most powerful cartels are vying for control of Mexico's largest port.

Geeks2, 2016

Series | Commissioned by Cnap and the association CéTaVoir, a creation of images with the young people of the city of Tergnier, members of the association Geeks2, to go even further into their imaginary world.

Larissa, 2016

Series | Chernobyl. Poliske, Ukraine. Her name was Kramarova Larissa Olexandrivna. 1961 - 2015

Femen the New Amazons, 2011

Series | Kiev, portraits of activists of the Ukrainian feminist group: Femen.

The Gates of Pripyat, 2011

Series | Pripyat, just three kilometers from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The front doors to their apartments as the only original features showing traces of past residents.

The Zone, 2011

Série| “There, in front of me, I can see the bridge covered in snow, the blue-tinged light at night, and wolf tracks. I have been in the Chernobyl exclusion zone for two days. I never wanted to go back. I am both attracted and repelled."

Mexico - Montaña, 2008

Series | The state of Guerrero - southern Mexico - is one of the most remote regions of the country. Its mountainous area, the Montaña, is mainly home to indigenous communities

7/7 : the Shadow of the Living, 2008

Series | 7 series for 7 stories of survivors

Tchernobylsty, 2001

Series | They used to live near Chernobyl, in the shadow of the nuclear power plant that symbolized the prowess which the great Soviet people had, their mastery of machinery.

Multimedia


Ukraine: a photographer's travel diary, 2021

Multimedia | 10 episodes that relate the work of Guillaume Herbaut in Ukraine.

War Trauma, 2019

Multimedia | Report by Guillaume Herbaut on the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

The Zone, 2012

Multimedia | A sensory journey into the heart of Tchernobyl’s exclusion zone.

Interviews


Les matins du samedi
France Culture

Interview by Caroline Broué, 2021

Interview of Guillaume Herbaut on the occasion of his exhibition “Orages” at Centre du patrimoine arménien of Valence (France) in 2021.

Des mots de minuit
France TV

Interview by Rémy Roche, 2019

Meeting with Guillaume Herbaut for his exhibition at the festival La Gacilly whose theme 2019 is: A l’Est du nouveau.

Par les temps qui courent
France Culture

Interview by Marie Richeux, 2018

Interview of Guillaume Herbaut on the occasion of his exhibition “Pour mémoire” at the Grande Arche de la Défense in Paris in 2018.

Maïdan vu par le photographe Guillaume Herbaut
EuroNews

2014

Ukraine, November 2004 – Ukraine November 2013. Two images for two distinct revolutions. Each of them was covered by the French photographer Guillaume Herbaut, winner a few years ago of the prestigious World Press Photo. Euronews met him in Lyon, where he is exhibiting his latest work on the events of Maïdan.

Regardez voir
France Inter

Interview by Brigitte Patient, 2018

Photojournalism at the service of the symbol. This is what the “Arche du photojournalisme” proposes at the Grande Arche de La Défense in Paris, through an exhibition entitled “Pour Mémoire”, around the work of Guillaume Herbaut in March 2018.

Exhibitions


Ukraine, de Maïdan à la guerre

Stimultania, Strasbourg (FRANCE)

From January 18 to March 31, 2019

Pour mémoire

Grande Arche de la Défense, La Défense (FRANCE)

From February 13 to May 13, 2018

7/7

Jeu de Paume, Paris (FRANCE)

From October 4 to December 31, 2005

Books


The Zone

Naïve Edition - 2011

Shkodra

CDP éditions - 2008

Urakami

Anabet édition - 2006

Tchernobylsty

Le petit Camarguais édition - 2003

The Zone

Naïve Edition - 2011

Shkodra

CDP éditions - 2008

Urakami

Anabet édition - 2006

Tchernobylsty

Le petit Camarguais édition - 2003

The Zone

Naïve Edition - 2011

Shkodra

CDP éditions - 2008

Urakami

Anabet édition - 2006

Tchernobylsty

Le petit Camarguais édition - 2003

awards


Bayeux-Calvados War Correspondents Award – Web journalism category, France

For his Travel Journal of a Photographer, produced for Arte

2016

Arthur Bertrand-Visa d’or magazine for image, France

Ernest Borel HK Prize, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

For his series “Ukraine, de Maïdan à Donbass”

2014 & 2015

American photography 28, USA

For his series “Nature at Chernobyl”, produced for Wired

2012

World Press Photo. 2nd prize in the portrait category, Netherlands

For his portrait of Inna Shevchenko, a Femen activist

2012

Niepce Award, France

France24/RFI of the web-documentary Award, France

The interactive work award. Montreal Festival of New Cinema, Canada

For his series “LA ZONE”

2011

World Press Photo. 2nd prize category contemporary issues singles, Netherlands

For his series “The New Slaves”

2009

3P Foundation Award, France

For his series “Urakami”

2005

Lucien Hervé and Rodolf Hervé Award, France

For his series “7/7 l’ombre des vivants”

2004

Kodak Critics Award, France

Fuji Book Award, France

For his series “Tchernobylsty”

2001 & 2004

Laureate of the Fondation de France

For his project about the forms of enlistment among children

2000

« Culture » award of the Festival of Scoop and Journalism, France

For his “Fashion Week”

1998

” Politics-event ” award of the Festival of Scoop and Journalism, France

For his series “At the School of the French National Front”

1997