THE BLOG
07/29/2011 10:23 am ET

Le Petit Palais: Reporters Sans Frontieres

My visits to El Cite Luminiere always includes spending time with loved ones, the latest exhibitions and wandering through Marche Puces in search of antiques and environmentally-chic finds. This trip, to one of the most inspiring cities, never ceases to provide much anticipated pleasure with an especially satisfying exhibition or two. Last year I shared my perspectives on the stunning Yves Saint Laurent exhibition, put on by Carla Bruni at the Musee du Petit Palais. A more recent visit included a competitively pleasurable stop at the very same site, this time devoted to a serious social issue much of the world takes for granted.

For as long as it is in danger, Reporters sans Frontieres (Reporters without Borders), has tirelessly defended the freedom of the press, spanning over a quarter of a century thus far. It is a commitment the organization shares with the City of Paris to fight for such freedom. It reminds us that over a third of the world's population live in a country where journalists are still persecuted, imprisoned or killed. Since 1992, this association has manifested itself in a number of interesting ways, notably by publishing annually a series of photographic albums to finance its work. The dynamic organization recently mobilized one of Paris' great cultural sites for socially-engaged art, which easily drew me for another visit right near the Seine.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the foundation, the Musee du Petit Palais hosted an exhibition of 100 photos dedicated to two of the great names in French photojournalism: Pierre and Alexandra Boulat. Alongside the Paris City Authority, the museum dedicated itself to support journalists and defend freedom of expression by recounting a quarter of a century of committed photographs. Reporters sans Frontieres is a moving testimony of two particular reporters who have literally seen the world change, and toward the daily struggle of the media who aims to shed light on important social issues.

Although the photos on exhibition showed two complementary ways of looking at the world: one more historical and another more recent; each was full of passion and evoked deep humanistic and even disturbing emotions. During this quarter of a century, this glimpse of history showed us how the world changed through glimpses of the life of American women and Nanterres shanty towns of the 1950s. It shared the fall of the Berlin wall and the democratization of a large part of Africa. Four decades later, it even gave us glimpses of Pierre's daughter in Gaza and the suffering of Afghan women.

Sadly, the threat to such a freedom many take for granted is not something of the past. In fact, the dedicated struggle of such an organization is still quite relevant. It is exhibitions such as this which raise awareness of deeply embedded social issues and rights many of us take for granted.

As of September 2010, the annual album Pierre and Alexandra Boulat for Freedom of the Press, is available with all proceeds going to the association. This exhibition has recently closed, but Le Petit Palais continues to share dynamic and diverse shows each season which provoke deep thought and artistic inspiration from all who enjoy them.