Seen BeyondVoices

A newspaper ‘without sound’

French newspaper shows power of photography by removing all images


French newspaper Libération removed on November 14th all images from one of its daily print editions, as part of a statement on the importance of photojournalism at a time when several media outlets are cutting their staff. The November 14th issue was the paper’s first to be published without a single photo, writes Libération culture journalist Brigitte Ollier in an articled titled “Libération plunged into darkness.”

“In their place: a series of empty frames that create a form of silence; an uncomfortable one,” Ollier continues. “It’s noticeable, information is missing, as if we had become a mute newspaper. [A newspaper] without sound, without this little internal music that accompanies sight.”

The issue, published to coincide with the opening of the Paris Photo exposition on Thursday, was laid out in standard fashion, with text and captions flowing around blank white spaces that photographs typically fill. A flatplan at the very end of the paper included a glimpse of the photos that would have appeared in the paper, but with all text and captions removed. Running across the top of the front page, just above its banner, was a brief explanation for the editorial decision.

It’s not a wake, we’re not burying the photographic art,” the paper wrote. “Instead we give photography the homage it deserves. Yet no one can ignore the calamitous situation press photographers now find themselves in, especially war photographers who risk their lives while barely making a living.”

First published at The Verge by Amar Toor on

Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

Leave a Reply