“I like to go to hostile lands to be at the limits,” says Magnum’s Jean Gaumy, of his ongoing life’s work photographing the Arctic, a subject matter that is becoming increasingly urgent – and politicized – in light of climate change debates. “I have had a curiosity about these places since being a child, and now, as the climate reaches a new ecosystem on the planet, I think it’s important to see what I can see about that.”

Since 2005, French photographer Jean Gaumy has undertaken several investigations for the film Sous Marin, spending four months underwater aboard a nuclear submarine. He adopted a more contemplative photographic approach, reporting on the arctic seas and the contaminated lands of Chernobyl and Fukushima. The photographs were published in his book D’après Nature, for which he received the prix Nadar for the second time in his career.

Taking pictures is like fishing or writing. It's getting out of the unknown that which resists and refuses to come to light

Jean Gaumy
© Jean Gaumy | Magnum Photos

Jean Gaumy was born in August 1948 in Pontaillac (Charente-Maritime), France. He received his higher education in Rouen where he worked as editor and freelance photographer in a local daily newspaper to pay for his studies. He worked briefly at the Viva agency and later joined the French photo agency, Gamma, in 1973 at the request of Raymond Depardon.

He is known for his eloquently evocative photography and cinematography, achieved through a deep engagement with his subjects. From his famous long-term projects on the fishing industry, arctic exploration and 1980’s Iran to his groundbreaking work on the French penal and healthcare systems, Gaumy produces work that is both vivid and impactful.

Gaumy joined Magnum in 1977. He has been living in Fécamp, Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy, France) since 1995.

© Jean Gaumy | Magnum Photos

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