Jeunes Talents is an initiative of Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency, French Cultural Services in Los Angeles and New York, and FLAX (France Los Angeles Exchange), a Los Angeles foundation promoting a better understanding of France through public and cultural art events. Spanning two continents and combining tourism promotion and the arts, Spanning two continents and combining tourism and the arts, Jeunes Talents supports and encourages emerging U.S. photographers, simultaneously creating a solid body of work that puts a fresh spin on contemporary French life.
The resulting images are used in a variety of ways. They come to life in a tourism marketing campaign: a curated gallery exhibition in Los Angeles and New York; a catalogue; a website, and a platform for young photographers to gain additional exposure and build real-life portfolios under the guidance of a professional curator.
The selected students, all from major art schools in Los Angeles and New York, were given complete freedom to capture what they saw. At the same time, they were assigned a theme that delves deep into each destination’s cultural and natural heritage.
In 2011, students visiting Metz, capital of the Lorraine region in north eastern France, took on performance art and urban planning as a subject. Those in Toulouse, a major aeronautic and gastronomic center, focused on air, space and the region’s celebrated art de vivre. Rouen and the Seine Valley, with its distinguished history in the arts, was viewed through the lens of Impressionism and the unspoiled environment. For students visiting Martinique in the French West Indies, the topics were local arts and crafts and the lush natural setting.
Rather than narrow their focus, these themes allowed the young artists to explore ideas and develop new ways to capture the richness of what they saw. For many, it was their first experience in another country. For all, Jeunes Talents represented an extraordinary voyage through four of France’s most spectacular cities and regions, where they were given carte blanche to observe, interact and express through their art a culture other than their own.