From the 1950’s to the 1970’s, Hélène Roger-Viollet travelled the world with her Rolleiflex camera, visiting America, Asia and Africa... Eldest daughter of the French engineer and amateur photographer, Henri Roger-Viollet, Hélène grew up among her father’s photographic experiences. In 1938, after studying journalism, she founded the Roger-Viollet photo agency with her husband Jean Fischer.
Her trips were a mean to complete, document and broaden her archives. Rather than looking for the sensational, Hélène Roger-Viollet testified, through her square-shaped photographs, about the daily life and customs of people living in foreign countries, like an ethnologist, at a time when it was not easy to travel. The photographer said in a documentary film made in 1981, “we haven’t reported but created documents to broaden our collections with the missing documents”.
Taking photographs during 30 years, Hélène Roger-Viollet has been creating a collection combining both informative testimony and her personal aesthetics.
In 1985, she died tragically at the age of 84, assassinated by her husband with whom she had shared her life for 50 years. Her collection of photographs was then bequeathed to the City of Paris and is now housed at the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris.View all images