Jean-Pierre Laffont


Turbulent America is a long portrait of the United States seen through the eyes of a French photographer. Jean-Pierre Laffont arrived in New York in 1965 and, for more than 3 decades, he travelled through the country trying to capture the spirit of times.

Jean-Pierre Laffont has seen things, he is a man who’s had a front row seat to some of the most seismic moments in American history… it’s proof of what can happen when you ditch the wall and actually see.

He focused his lenses on the misfits, impoverished and the defiant. He hones in on the explosion of the sexual revolution, civil rights movement and the consequence of an assault on the freedom of speech.

In Harold Evans’ words, Turbulent America is a startling portrayal of the theatrical velocity of American life, its traumatic divisions, its heady ambitions, its heroes and heroines and its unending parade of wannabes and weirdos. Through Laffont’s lens we do, however, glimpse the great political issues as they emerge, fade or escalate.

Taken together, the images show the chaotic, often painful, birth of 21st-century America.

They do what photographs do best: freeze decisive moments in time for future examination. These photographs form a personal and historical portrait of a country I have always viewed critically but affectionately, and to which I bear immense gratitude.

Jean-Pierre Laffont


Number of Photographs
118 B&W and color photographs

37 photos • 40 x 27 cm • on aluminum • without frame
61 photos • 27.5 x 40.5 cm • on aluminum • framed
1 photo • 20.5 x 30.5 cm • on aluminum • framed
19 photographs • size ranging from 180.5 x 120.5 to 38.5 x 40.5 • framed

Additional Material
1 Paris Match framed and window-show material

Photographer’s Paradise: Turbulent America 1960-1990
Published by Glitterati Inc
Forefront by Harold Evans
392 page
359 black and white and four-color photographs

Jean-Pierre Laffont was born and raised in Algeria and Morocco. He completed his Master’s Degree in Photography at the Arts et Métiers School of Veve, Switzerland in 1959.
In 1965 he moved to the U.S. and began his career as a photojournalist.
In 1969 Jean-Pierre became the first foreign correspondent for Gamma.
In 1970 with his wife Eliane Laffont, they opened the U.S. office of Gamma Press Images agency. He primarily covered American events during that period.
In 1973 as co-founding member of Sygma Photo News agency, his work expanded to the coverage of international events in Japan, Korea, Africa, India, China, the Middle East, Poland and the U.S.S.R.
In 1979 his photo documentary work on child labor around the world was awarded the Overseas Press Club Madeline Dane Ross Award, the University of Missouri School of Journalism World Understanding Award and the World Press First Prize, General Picture Category.
His photographs were featured in major publications around the world, garnering great recognition and winning numerous awards.
In 1996, a retrospective of his work was presented at the International Photojournalism Festival Visa Pour l’Image, where he was honored with the National French Order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
In 2014, his book on America Photographer’s Paradise: Turbulent America 1960-1990 published by Glitterati, Inc. was released in France and the USA.
Jean-Pierre Laffont currently resides in New York with his wife Eliane, his daughter Stephanie and his grand daughters Sparrow and Silvie.