For several years, Laura Henno has based her approach to photography and film on the issues of clandestine migration, in the Comoros, Réunion Island and Calais. Her documentary work reinvests reality with the potentials of fiction and storytelling. The resulting images provoke a disturbance, drawing on pictorial and cinematographic codes.
For this event the French photographer is in conversation with Art Historian Dr. Olga Smith to discuss her practice, documenting the lives of people experiencing the most difficult social conditions, including recent project Outremonde (Underworld), which portrays the inhabitants of the ‘Slab City’ squat in California.
This event is part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s talk series Prix Pictet Conversations on Photography, which provides a platform for leading contemporary photographers from around the world to discuss and present their practice.
Supported by The Pictet Group.
Laura Henno initially trained as a photographer and studied film at Le Fresnoy – Studio National des Arts Contemporains. She was the recipient of the New Discovery Award at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles in 2007.
Her work has been shown in many museums in France and abroad. In 2018, she presented her series Redemption (produced in the United States) at the Rencontres d’Arles. In 2017, the BBB Centre d’Art in Toulouse cast the spotlight on her series M’Tsamboro. In 2013, her work was shown in the Missing Stories exhibition at the Centre régional de la photographie Nord Pas-de-Calais in Douchy-les-Mines and the Dunkirk Museum of Fine Arts. In 2011, she was exhibited in the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki, Finland. Laura Henno has also participated in many group exhibitions, among which Paysage Français: Une Aventure Photographique (1984-2017) at the BnF François Mitterrand in 2017, alongside a hundred major photographers, the Sharjah Biennial 2017 at the Beirut Art Center in Lebanon, L’effet Vertigo at MAC VAL in Vitry-sur-Seine in 2015, Femina, ou la réappropriation des modèles at the Pavillon Vendôme in Clichy in 2015, and Voices of the Sea at the Calais Museum of Fine Arts in 2012. She has been awarded several prizes for her film Koropa, including the Equality and Diversity Award 2017 at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and the Grand Prix for Short Film 2016 at the Entrevues de Belfort.
Olga Smith writes and lectures on contemporary art and photography. Trained as an art historian at the University of Cambridge, she holds a research fellowship at the University of Warwick. Her current research includes a project on the representations of landscape in contemporary photography and a book charting the history of contemporary photography in France. Her academic research has been published in Art History, Fotogeschichte and History of Photography.