Documents de la vie sociale
The value of the most immediate documents, like that of the most exquisite of compositions, resides in the social power they convey. Certain to touch everyone, photography thus possesses complete dignity, from which aestheticism and propaganda can be banned without belittling it.
The currently used, derogatory term, "reportage" [photo journalism] is, however, what conveys maximum emotion. The anecdotal form has seduced the purest of filmmakers and photographers: these last years, we have witnessed in all countries in the world, where photography is part of life, its magic success, of which here we will be able to contemplate a few examples.
Jean Painlevé, introductory text to the exhibition "Documents de la vie sociale", organized by the AEAR (Association of Revolutionary Writers and Artists) at the Galerie Pléiade, 1935.