Journal of Romance Studies

The multi-ethnic metropolis: representing Marseilles in recent photography

Journal of Romance Studies (2008), 8, (1), 31–42.

Abstract

Despite its cultural and historical importance, how Marseilles has been represented photographically has been overlooked. This article assesses how the cite phocéenne and its inhabitants have been depicted in some recent photography. It focuses particularly on the different ways in which the city’s ethnic diversity has been represented, analysing in detail the work of local photographer Yves Jeanmougin. His Marseille/Marseilles (1992) posits the city as, above all, a multi-ethnic space, but this article questions the harmony his images suggest. It assesses how image and text interact within his work, the importance of the gaze within it and how the presentation of his photographs mediates their reception, arguing that, despite its implicit humanism, Jeanmougin’s vision of the Mediterranean metropolis ultimately connotes communitarianism rather than multicultural conviviality.

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Author details

McGonagle, Joseph