Immersion

A French American Photography Commission
Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques
Immersion, a French American Photography Commission is a programme dedicated to contemporary photography. Consisting of alternating residencies between France and the United States, it brings together the creation, production and diffusion of new photographic work, attesting to the Foundation’s bold engagement in favour of this medium: each year’s laureates create original series to be shared with a wide audience through exhibitions and publications.
Halpern
Gregory Halpern, Untitled, from the series "Let the Sun Beheaded Be", 2019, courtesy of the artist © Gregory Halpern

Immersion is an annual photography programme featuring residencies, exhibitions and publications. On a yearly alternating basis, Immersion is open to either photographers based in France, who are mentored by a French professional as they create a new photographic work in the United States, or to photographers based in the United States, who are mentored by an Anglophone professional as they create a new photographic work in France. Through this original photographic commission, the Foundation enables artists to pursue significant new projects that articulate their visions of the geographical and cultural territory they explore during their residencies.

Founded in 2014, Immersion began as a three-year partnership with the Aperture Foundation. The work created by the artist-laureates during their residencies was featured in exhibitions at the Aperture Gallery, New York, and in bilingual editions co-published by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès and Aperture.

Vasantha Yogananthan
The Map, 2017 © Vasantha Yogananthan

In 2018, Immersion continues to develop together with its new partners: the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in the United States and the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson (HCB) in Paris. The laureates of the first six editions of the programme have been, in chronological order: Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Taysir Batniji, Gregory Halpern, Vasantha Yogananthan and, finally, Raymond Meeks. Due to the global pandemic, the stateside residency of Immersion’s fifth laureate, Vasantha Yogananthan, was postponed until 2022. Under the mentorship of Agnès Sire, artistic director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, the French photographer will produce a body of images around the theme of childhood, spending a summer in New Orleans to live amongst the children of this city that is both steeped in history and highly vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

In 2021, the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York took over as the American partner institution of the Immersion programme. Raymond Meeks is the sixth laureate of Immersion. He will be mentored by David Campany, artistic director of the ICP, and will carry out his residency in France in 2022.

Gregory Halpern, Vasantha Yogananthan and Raymond Meeks will present their work together at the ICP in a joint exhibition dedicated to the Immersion programme. Each of the two latest laureates will also benefit from a solo show at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, where Gregory Halpern's exhibition took place in autumn 2020.

The tripartite partnership behind Immersion gives the laureates the opportunity to exhibit their work on both sides of the Atlantic. In France, the partnership with the HCB further strengthens the close relationship between the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès and this prestigious Parisian institution, whose work the Foundation has supported for several years as the exclusive patron of the Prix Henri Cartier-Bresson.