Raymond Depardon first went to Chile in September 1971, accompanied by journalist Robert Pledge, as the country celebrated the first anniversary of the election of Salvador Allende. Co-founder of the Socialist Party and supported by a Popular Unity coalition, the Chilean president wanted to put in place “the Chilean road to socialism” with the nationalisation of major sectors of the economy and land reforms. Depardon photographed demonstrations in the streets of the capital, Santiago, in support of Allende’s government, and also travelled to the south to meet the Mapuche people, who were fighting for the right to live on the land of their ancestors.
Two years later, Raymond Depardon and Robert Pledge sent American photographer David Burnett to Chile to cover Augusto Pinochet’s coup d’état, which plunged the country into a military dictatorship. Burnett’s images, which complemented and enriched Depardon’s reportage, were awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award in 1973.
Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the coup d’état that also led to the death of President Salvador Allende, this publication looks back at the events surrounding that other September 11, the one in 1973, when the happy crowds photographed by Depardon were replaced, under Burnett’s lens, by images of the bloody repression that followed. The book is divided into two parts, one devoted to Depardon’s photographs and the other to Burnett’s, separated by a reproduction of the iconic shot taken by the Chilean photographer Leopoldo Vargas, capturing the last image of Salvador Allende alive, leaving his palace at La Moneda, gun in hand. These photographs are enhanced by texts by Chilean authors that bring the Chile of the 1970s into line with the Chile of today, showing what is at stake in this country 50 years after the coup d’état.