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Christophe Agou wins European Publishers Award

The European Publishers Award for Photography was established in 1994, and celebrated its 17th year in 2010. Previous winners have included Bruce Gilden, Simon Norfolk, Jeff Mermelstein, Paolo Pellegrin, Jacob Aue Sobol, Ambroise Tézenas and Klavdij Sluban.

The winning project is published in book form simultaneously by each of six publishers. The 2009 winner was published in six editions in six languages.

For several past winners, the Award book has been their first publication, with significant benefit for the development of their careers. In recent years the winning photographer has also received a major exhibition of the work during the subsequent Rencontres d’Arles.

In the Face of Silence

In the winter of 2002, Christophe Agou began documenting the lives of French family farmers living and working in the Forez region, which lies on the eastern side of the Massif Central.

Christophe retains a deep affection for the region: he was born there, and stayed until he was 16. For this project, he travelled to the lesser-known areas, where he felt inspired by the silence and moved by the authenticity and charisma of the people he encountered.

image Christophe Agou

image Christophe Agou

Over time, and through the gradual process of building trust and friendship, the farmers and their families accepted him and allowed him to both photograph and film their daily existence.

The challenge was to go beyond simple documentary to present a deeper, more intimate portrait. For Christophe, the work is a meditation on life and death as well as the silence and solitude that are ever-present in our lives.

image Christophe Agou

image Christophe Agou

Christophe Agou has been a member of in-public since 2005.

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In-Public was set up in 2000 to provide a home for Street Photographers.

Our aim is to promote Street Photography and to continue to explore its possibilities, we are a non commercial collective. All the photographers featured here have been invited to show their work because they have the ability to see the unusual in the everyday and to capture the moment. The pictures remind us that, if we let it, over-familiarity can make us blind to what’s really going on in the world around us.

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