Established last December, the Photo4food Foundation supports organizations fighting malnutrition and poverty thanks to sales of works of photography donated by artists. This remarkable initiative weds creativity and generosity, photography and social commitment. We talk with Virginie Goy, a co-founder of the Foundation.
How would you briefly describe the purpose of the foundation?
The Foundation has a double mission: support organizations fighting malnutrition and promote the work of socially engaged artists who have donated some of their work to the Foundation. As a way to say thanks, the Foundation is committed to promote their work through events, exhibitions, charity dinners, and through posts on our website and Instagram account.
How did you come up with the idea of creating the Photo4food Foundation?
It was the foundation’s co-founder, my husband Olivier, who came up with the idea. He is an amateur photographer and passionate about photography. During his visit to the Venezia Photo festival last year, he realized it is very difficult for a photographer to break through and self-promotion costs a lot of money. Besides, we have always privately supported organizations that fight malnutrition, such as Août Secours Alimentaire. This is an organization that takes over from similar ones which close for the month of August. It struck Olivier that there was a gap to be filled to help out such organizations, and he wanted to find a way to tie it in with his passion for photography.
What made you want to support this particular cause?
Being able to eat is a basic need, and it is very sad to have to realize that today there are people who go hungry. There are plenty of other causes that need support, but this one comes before everything else.
Do you feel that art lacks any concrete engagement?
I can’t think of any other art projects that would be helping others in that way, but I think Olivier’s idea is ingenious because when you buy a photograph, you are combining a really worthy cause with something lighter, that brings you pleasure, and that’s not always easy. It must be said, the twenty artists who came onboard did not hesitate for a second, and there you have a real proof of commitment! I thank them with all my heart!
And, so, all proceeds go exclusively to the charitable organizations?
Precisely. Olivier and I are committed to financing the Foundation for ten years, which will make it possible to cover the fixed overhead, such as art prints, exhibitions, rent… For example, the charitable dinner which we organize in June will be funded entirely from this capital, and not by the sale of photographs. That is to say, the very first euro collected through sales or donations—because the public will also have the option of making a donation without purchasing anything—will go directly to the charitable organizations. In other words, one euro we collect is one euro we donate. And every photo purchase can finance over 400 meals!
Are you planning to expand the group of artists you promote?
We certainly do. However, we are trying to return the favor to the twenty photographers who joined our project, and for the moment we are not accepting any new photographers; but the idea is to grow and to welcome others in the future.
How did you convince these photographers to participate?
Olivier approached photographers he met at the Venezia Photo festival, but also some friends—anyone who might introduce us to photographers who would be interested in the project. To that end, we created an advisory committee composed of five members, including the curator Emmanuelle de l’Ecotais and the gallery owner Arnaud Adida. Each member puts us in touch with photographers, and guides us through the process of making an interesting, high-quality selection. We also are pleased to have Sebastião Salgado on our board of directors, as well as other well-known figures.
What are you hoping to accomplish next?
We hope to sell a lot of photographs to help finance all the organizations that need our support. The first action we have ever carried out was financing a soup kitchen in the IXth Arrondissement in Paris with the Restos du Coeur. We want to spread word about our Foundation in order to promote our artists, sell their pictures, as well as support a growing number of charitable organizations.
Interview by Coline Olsina
Link to the website : https://www.fondationphoto4food.com/