Le Monde Trashes 27 Years of Photography Work

Photographer Daniel Mordzinski has faced a loss that no photographer wants to comprehend. His 27 years of work for Le Monde that was stored in their archive has been thrown away.

Salman Rushdie by Daniel Mordzinski

“No one knows or wants to know why they decided to [do] away my work life, thousands of photos taken over twenty-seven years.” Mordzinski has said in his grief. Daniel Mordzinski is a famous Argentine photographer born in Buenos Aries in 1960, known for his portraits of literary figures over the last couple of decades. In his life time he has photographed authors such as, Borges, Cortazar, Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa.

Mordzinski had an office at Le Monde as part of an agreement with the Spanish newspaper El Pais where he was contracted for 10 years. During this time he helped set up an archive and remembered painting it black. The archive stored negatives and slides collected over the decades. At the beginning of March, Migeul Mora a journalist for El Pais, discovered the archive had been emptied without any notice being given to Mordzinski. This sudden clear out of the archive suggests that the contents ended up in the rubbish. Out of the thousands of images in the archive only a few hundred have been saved due to them being digitized as part of Mordzinski’s own publication and exhibition, with the rest being lost forever.

Garcia Marquez by Daniel Mordzinski

Mordzinski has said that the dissapperance of the archive is “more than negligence” and “a deep contempt for work that is part of the memory of our contemporary culture.”

It would appear that although no one has done anything legally wrong there has been an wrong made against our own history and the photographer. Usually when you are under contract at a newspaper (not freelance) the paper owns the rights to the image, in this case La Monde. Should La Monde contacted Mordzinski? Yes but they didn’t as far as we know since La Monde is yet to state its side.

This case also points to the need for Media groups to digitize their archive as well as preserving as much as they can the original negatives. This is a hard task as the need to make sure the archiving method is not corrupt or that the format is now unreadable is important.

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4 thoughts on “Le Monde Trashes 27 Years of Photography Work

  1. It is incomprehensible that anyone in a position of intelligent responsibility would do something this stupid. Then again I have experienced similar when my widowered father tossed a few lifetimes of family photos into the landfill. At least he had grief as an excuse.

    • My mouth dropped open for this post on the idiocy of Le Monde! I don’t know that people getting rid of photographs actually has anything to do with grief, rather it is selfishness and stupidity and the subconscious desire to deprive everyone else of something valuable – my father AND mother (although divorced) both did the same thing at intervals throughout their lives… talk about insulting – I know exactly how Mordzinski feels: like being hit by a truck…. Those of us who have OCD over this kind of thing keep multiple copies in various places – it may sound obsessive but at least while we are alive there is a back-up…

      • I agree on the selfishness in the case of my father but the added grief I am certain pushed the selfishness beyond self-control. I am sorry you experienced similar. In these digital days it is much easier to have multiple copies and I do wish I had the opportunity to scan them all. This happened 14 years ago and I did not have either a computer or scanner in those days.
        In the case of Le Monde it is just arrogance and stupidity.

      • My experience was a while back as well – like you I was unable to archive anything that was not in my own house – live and learn…

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