Schooling young photographers’ vocational training? A generational conflict (1950s-1970s)

By Véra Léon

This paper adopts a new perspective to look at the process of vocational training being formalised in schools. It focuses on the underlying generational conflicts of this process. From the 1950s to the 1970s, photography workers endeavoured to professionalise their occupation, which was traditionally self-taught but required the mastery of constantly changing technologies. Tension between young people and older photographers was exacerbated. What impact did age and diplomas have on this reshaping of professional value? How did young people react to the technical, pedagogical and ideological transformations that affected their training and working conditions? These were perceived differently depending on the generation, gender and social position. In this new era of certification, although on-the-job training and self-training still existed, diplomas gained ground and increasingly became a marker of differentiation between generations.

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