Widely respected by the journalistic milieu for his fearless independance, Morvan chose to photograph these youths in vivid close-up. Nevertheless, he maintains a neutral distance between photographer and photographee, making no attempt to judge or impose a single viewpoint.
To make this series, which captures the tensions and rivalry of gang warfare, Morvan implicated himself to the extent where he put himself in physical danger.
These rare images from the « Blousons Noirs « series remain an outstanding sociological testmony.
“Gangs” is the ethnographic narration of the gangs who reigned supreme in the suburbs of 1970’s Paris. Yan went out and conducted a real investigation, dedicating himself to this work for almost forty years. The images are the tale of a shared history, the story of the youth evolving in a microcosm governed by codes and peculiar rules. From the rockers’ black leather jackets in the 70’s to the Blacks Dragoons of the noughties, those who find themselves in these ‘anti-societies’ express themselves in order to find their place, status and recognition. The progression of these gangs is also linked to cultural phenomena: the rock and punk scenes of the 70’s and 80’s made way for American hip-hop and rap culture in the 90’s.
Anarchy in the UK
The Green Line, Lebanon
HUIT gallery – Arles
04.07.2016 – 23.07.2016
SIT DOWN gallery
25.01.2014 – 22.02.2014
Yan Morvan was born in Paris in 1954. After studying mathematics and then cinema he made photo documentaries on Hell’s Angels in Paris, and prostitutes in Bangkok. In 1974 the newspaper daily ‘Liberation’ published his work for the first time. He collaborated with ‘Liberation’ until 1976, then with the photo agency ‘Norma’. In the same year he published his first book ‘Le Cuir et le Baston’, and continued this series on biker gangs for some twenty years. He later joined ‘Paris Match, followed by ‘Figaro Magazine’ until 1980.
From 1980 until 1988 he worked with Sipa agency and became the permanent correspondant for the American weekly ‘Newsweek’, covering the principal conflicts worldwide : Iran-Irak, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Rwanda, Kosovo…..and also the wedding of Princess Diana. A freelance photographer since 1988, Yan Morvan is considered one the world’s leading war photographers and he collaborates regularly with international publications. His war journalism has won him the Robert Capa Prize (for reports from Lenanon in 1983), two prizes from World Press Photo and numerous awards from American photo journalism schools.
Sharing his fame and experience with young photographers, Morvan has taught at the National Photography School in Arles (ENSP) and the School for Journalism (CFJ) In 2000 his portraits of young victims of road accidents , commissioned by FNAC (National Collection for Contemporary Art) was exhibited at the international photojournalism festival, ‘Visa Pour l ‘Image’. Since 2004 his subject matter has often focused on disenfranchised suburbs, and war or road victims
Yan Morvan is currently considered one of the great photojournalists of France. His numerous scoops has earned him not only international acclaim and celebrity but also heavy penalties : in Lebanon, for instance, he has twice been condemned to death, and twice made a miraculous escape. His work for ‘Liberation’ and ‘Paris Match’ on gang warfare led to him being taken hostage and tortured by the serial killer Guy Georges. (Gangs Story, published by Editions de la Manufacture, recounts the story of gangs from the 1970’s until present times).
– Reporter de guerres, Editions Lamartinière, 2012
– Gangs Story, La Manufacture de livres, 2012
– Photojournalisme, Victoires Editions, 2008
– BodMod, Marval, 2003
– Photojournalisme, CFPJ, Victoires Editions, 2000
– Gang, Marval, 2000
– Jean-Marc Barbieux, Yan Morvan, Mondosex, Petit catalogue raisonné des comportements sexuels à l’aube du XXIe siècle, Contrejour, 1995
– Yan Morvan, Patrick Frilet, Photojournalisme, Le Guide, CFD, 1995
– Yan Morvan, Le photojournalisme, Contrejour, 1994
– Maurice Lemoine, Yan Morvan, Le Cuir et le Baston, Ailleurs, 1976
Les Inrockuptibles, 07/02/14 “Yan Morvan”
Street-tease, 06/02/14 “Gangs story : les clichés de Yan Morvan exposés à la galerie Sit Down”
Libération, 12/02/14 “Gangs story”
Modzik, 15/02/14 “Qui a déjà vu un Bad Boy sans son bomber ?”
The teenage kicks preservation society, 15/02/14 “Yan Morvan : Gangs, @ Galerie SIT DOWN, Paris”
Libération, 12/02/14 “Yan Morvan, bandes toujours”