Jean-Pierre Pappis / Polaris : “the greatest story of our century”

Mis à jour le 11 septembre 2021 par Rédaction

Jean-Pierre Pappis de Polaris et Jeff Pekala de l’agence Starface ©Geneviève Delalot

The situation of photographers and agencies was already catastrophic, this current crisis has just made it worse. The acceleration of history is mind-blowing.The transformation of photography has barely s  tarted. Today’s edition is devoted to the

interviews that Michel Puech carried out with 7 agency directors.Jean-Jacques Naudet / L’oeil de la photographie

We believed we had touched the bottom, but Cofid-19 came to complete the destruction of our photographic production.

Without advertising, without distribution for lack of newspapers stand and letter carriers, the print media is in great danger. Result: drop in image downloads, no more assignments from newspapers and magazines  except for a few exceptions and triumphs of the major wire agencies AP, Reuters, AFP … We do not complain, but the diversity points of view will suffer.

And then, the most dramatic, hundreds of photographers and photojournalists are without real social coverage since triumphant  liberalism imposed self-entrepreneurship instead of salaries.

Without unemployment, without social security, without retirement, an inestimable number of freelance photographers will find themselves in dark misery.

In the next world, we will make inventory of past mistakes.

Michel Puech

Michel Puech sent a series of three questions to bosses of photo press agencies to find out the situation in the face of this world and health “war”. This is Jean-Pierre Pappis’s response from the New York-based Polaris agency.


1 – Are photographers of your agency sick and / or absent (how many compared to the workforce)?

None to my knowledge are sick at this time. Only a Parisian photographer contracted the virus three weeks ago and has recovered. (High fever, severe sore throat)

2 / What instructions and equipment were given to your photographers in the field? And have they encountered difficulties with the police?

They wear masks and gloves. The only difficulties are encountered in airports, that said certain places remain prohibited: hospitals, mortuaries but in Israel our photographer had special access to hospitals and intensive care units.

3 / Are you afraid that this pandemic will lead you to review your projects or even close your agency? What impact on your turnover?

It is too early to answer with precision, but we must expect upheavals. As long as we receive photos – and we receive a lot every day – we will distribute them. Hopefully customers will be able to pay, our agents outside the US will survive, and financial institutions will continue to be able to process bank transfers and check issues.

This is, after all, the greatest news story of our century and we must invest in it, caution and good luck to all.


Interviewed by email on March 22, 2020

Michel Puech

The Polaris images website :

This article first appeared on the A L’OEIL Journalism & Photography website :