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A complex personality, about which François Nourissier will write: “…he is a difficult man to cut into slices. Everything holds together, everything goes together and forms a block… a 20th century eye”.


John Craven, whose real name is Louis Conte, was born in Digne in the Alpes de Haute Provence on September 10, 1912 and died in Paris in 1981.

In 1930, he joins his brother who works as a cameraman in film studios in New York.

He published his first shots in Movies Makers magazine. Then he extended his activities in the literary field by taking the direction of the Revue de la Pensée Française. In 1939, back in France, he joined the resistance under the pseudonym of John Craven.

In 1950, he opened an art gallery at 5 rue des Beaux-Arts. There, are presented young abstract painters like Hartung, Poliakoff, Wols…

His photographic activity is fruitful. He made many portraits of artists and signed the strongest image of Jean Dubuffet. He assiduously frequents the still very discreet milieu of photographers' clubs and in particular the 30 x 40 club created by Roger Doloy.
In 1952, he worked on a photographic cycle on the world of the oil industry. In 1956, he did the exhibition The fantastic world of oil, with a preface by Jean Giono.
In 1958, he signed the poster of Charbonnage de France which was a great success.

In 1963, he did a photographic tour of the United States on the forgotten of the Marshall plan. On his return, he published a book entitled 200 Million Americans with Hachette, the success of which earned him the Nadar Prize, the Golden Lion in Venice and the Lenin Prize in Moscow. The book is banned in the United States.

In 1969, he took over the direction of the Festival d'Avignon, he innovated by presenting 500 photographs by nine artists including Boubat, Dieuzaide, Doisneau and Lartigue…projected on the wall.

The man who said: "not about defending the past, you have to be in love with the present and daring with the future", left the stage, struck down by a heart attack on 1981 December 26th.




- John Craven. Seductions and dangers of the dominant industry of the 1950s, Galerie Berthet-Aittouarès, Paris, France


- A 20th century eye, Montmorillon, France


- John Craven. Terrible Beauty, Galerie Berthet-Aittouares, Paris, France


- 200 Million Americans or America in the 1960s, Galerie Berthet-Aittouares, Paris, France


- A 20th century eye, Auxerre and Abbey of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, France


- The eye listens, Festival d'Avignon, Palais des Papes, Avignon, France



John Craven, La beauté terrible

Préface de François Nourissier
Ed. Galerie Berthet-Aittouarès, Paris, 2005
48 pages reliées, 35 illustrations en noir et blanc

Dimensions : 22 x 22 cm
N° ISBN 2-95-14-51-3-5-0
Prix de vente: 25 €

John Craven, 200 millions d’américains ou l’Amérique des années 60

Texte en français et traduit en anglais d’Edmonde Charles Roux et Iliana Kasarska
Ed. Galerie Berthet-Aittouarès, Paris, 2002
48 pages, reliées, 35 illustrations en noir et blanc

Dimensions : 22 x 22 cm
N° ISBN 2-9509113-6-6
Prix de vente: 25 €

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