Jean-Pierre Laffont is a photojournalist, based in New York, and was the founding member of Gamma USA and Sygma Photo News, the largest photography agency in the world, which in 1999 was acquired by the Corbis Corporation.
Born in Algeria in 1935, Jean-Pierre Laffont attended high school and college in Morocco, where he graduated in 1955.
In 1959 he received his Master’s Degree in Photography from Europe’s prestigious School of Arts et Metiers in Vevey, Switzerland.
In 1960 Laffont graduated from Military Infantry Academy, in Cherchell (Algeria), where he was a Press Officer, and then proceeded to serve in the French Army as a Commanding Officer in the Oran region in the Algeria War throughout April 1962. He then returned to Paris, where, from 1962 to 1964, he began assisting photographers Sam Levin and Choura, renowned for their photographs of celebrities and movie stars. It was in this period of time that Laffont started to work in portraiture and fashion photography, and was hired as special photographer on movie sets for MGM in Rome.
In 1965 he arrived in the United States and began his career as a photojournalist, and worked as a staff photographer for Status Magazine.
In 1966 he married Eliane Lucotte and in 1970 they had a daughter, Stephanie, born in Nice (France), who is now a professional artist living in New York.
Laffont then became the first Foreign Correspondent for Gamma Press Images, and in 1970, with his wife Eliane Laffont, opened the U.S. office of Gamma Press Images agency. Laffont covered historical American events, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the Race Riots, the Vietnam War, the peace movement, as well as the gay and feminist movement.
In 1973, Laffont was one of the co-founders 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. During those years, deeply touched by the suffering endured by children, he, from 1970-1980, made a major reportage on child labor throughout the world. The photographs he brought back from those countries were the first global photo essay on child labor and the most eloquent and cruel testimonials. Jean-Pierre has won the most prestigious awards in photojournalism for this series, including the Overseas Press Club’s Madeline Dane Ross Award and first prize in the World Press General Picture category.
During the 80’s, still photographing around the world, his work particularly focused on the U.S agricultural crisis, scientific research and world economy, mostly in Eastern Europe, the USSR, China, India and Third World countries. His photographs have been featured in major publications worldwide: Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Paris Match, Le Figaro Magazine, Stern, Bunte, Época, the London Sunday Times and Manchete, his work has also gained high recognition through numerous awards.
In 1999 Corbis acquired Sygma and Jean-Pierre Laffont was appointed General Director of Corbis Sygma in the U.S.
In 2000 he left Corbis and was hired by Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. as General Manager of Gamma Press USA.
Jean-Pierre Laffont currently resides in New York with his wife Eliane, his daughter Stephanie, his son-in-law Joe Urla and his granddaughters Sparrow and Silvie.