The Lost and Found Transfigured

Bootleg Photographs From the Collection of Jean-Marie Donat

Curators: François Cheval, Audrey Hoareau

Courtesy of the Jean-Marie Donat Collection

Courtesy of the Jean-Marie Donat Collection

Courtesy of the Jean-Marie Donat Collection

For over 30 years Jean-Marie Donat has gathered more than 400 000 original photographs from all over the world. The collection covers nearly a century of Photography History (1880-1980). Vernacular images are an important part of the collection, anonymous pictures, chosen for the social and cultural testimony they represent, but also for their very human dimension. Working on that body of images, he composed over 200 thematic series. For some, transfiguring the subject.


Jean-Marie Donat (France, 1962) lives and works in Paris. He worked in publishing for thirty years and contributed to the Italian magazine Frigidaire in the beginning of the 1980s. He was the studio manager and artistic director of Sarbacane Design for fifteen years, and participated in founding publishing house éditions Sarbacane in 2013. With Alexandre Mestcherinoff, He co-founded the Patate Records label, specialized in reissuing Jamaican Reggae records. He now manages his own publishing company called AllRight. 

During the 2015 edition of Rencontres d’Arles, he launched “innocences.net”, a 2.0 publishing house dedicated to images of all kinds. Donat is also an informed Photography collector. He has been building up his collection for more than twenty-five years, gathering images during his travels across Europe and the United States. The collection revolves around a powerful idea : providing a singular interpretation of the century.