French. Born in August 1948 in Royan Pontaillac (Charente-Maritime), France. Attended school in Toulouse and Aurillac. Higher education in Rouen where he worked as editor and freelance photographer in the Paris-Normandy area. Briefly at the Viva agency. Joined the French Gamma in 1973 at the request of Raymond Depardon.
1975. He undertook two long works on subjects never before broached in France: the first "L’Hopital" was published in 1976; the second, "Les Incarcérés", on French prisons was made in 1976 and published in 1983 with extracts from his personal journal written in the first person.
1977. He joined Magnum after he was noticed at the photography festival, Rencontres d’Arles, in 1976 by Marc Riboud and Bruno Barbey.
1984. He made his first film "La Boucane", which was nominated for a Caesar in 1986 for best documentary. Other often award-winning films followed, all broadcast by French and European television. This same year, he started a cycle of winter voyages aboard so-called "classic" trawlers which continued until 1998 and led to the publication in 2001 of "Pleine Mer" ("Men at Sea").
1986. First trip to Iran during the war with Iraq. Ongoing trips there until 1997.
1987. Made the film "Jean-Jacques", spending two years chronicling the town of Octeville-sur-Mer, where he lived, through the eyes of Jean-Jacques mistakenly considered the "village idiot".
1994. He made his third film "Marcel, prêtre" shot in Raulhac (Auvergne, Cantal) over a period of several years.
2001. Received the Prix Nadar.
2005. He has undertaken location scoutings and shootings for the film "Sous-Marin" spending four months underwater aboard a nuclear attack submarine.
Since then, his numerous works on human confinement have been coupled with a more contemplative photographic approach. This how, in 2008, after his film aboard a nuclear submarine, he started photographic reconnaissance work that has already taken him from the arctic seas to the contaminated lands of Chernobyl in the Ukraine (2008, 2009) and Fukushima, Japan (2012)
Concurrently, for the same project, he started a series of mountain landscapes that will be published in the book "D’après Nature" (2010) and for which he will receive for the second time the Nadar Prize.
2008. Officially named "Peintre de la Marine".
2010 and 2011. He re-embarks aboard the "Terrible", the latest French submarine SNLA dedicated to nuclear deterrence.
2013 He joins the international scientific team BB Polar with which he goes to Spitsbergen and Greenland (2013, 2014 and 2016)
2016 He was elected at the Academy of Fine Arts of the Institut de France.
- Jean Gaumy, Actes Sud. Coll PhotoPoche. Text by Alain Bergala, 2010
- D'après Nature, Xavier Barral, France. English, Italian and French texts, 2010
- Pleine Mer, La Martinière, France, 2001, ISBN 978-2-7324-2732-4; Men at Sea, Harry N. Abrams, USA, 2002, ISBN 978-0-8109-1198-7; Mare Aperto, Contrasto, Italy, 2002; Auf hoher See', Knesebeck, Germany, 2002
- Le Livre des Tempêtes à bord de l’Abeille Flandre, Seuil, France, 2001, ISBN 978-2-02-042622-0
- Le Pont de Normandie, Le Cherche-Midi, France, 1995, ISBN 978-2-86274-334-9
- Les Incarcérés, L’Etoile/Cahiers du Cinéma, France, 1983, ISBN 978-2-86642-009-3
- L’Hôpital, Contrejour, France, 1976, ISBN 978-2-85949-003-4
- Sous-Marin (video, color, 5x25'), 2006
- Marcel, Prêtre (16mm, color, 42'), 1994
- Jean-Jacques (16mm, color, 52'), 1987
- La Boucane (16mm, color, 35'), 1984
Awards and nominations
- Institut de France (Academy des Beaux Arts), 2016
- Named Peintre Officiel de la Marine, 2008
- Prix Nadar, France, 2001 et 2010
- Prix du film document de Belfort (for "Jean-Jacques") France, 1987
- Nomination for a César Award (for La Boucane) (short-documentary category) France, 1986
- Prix du premier film au Festival du Film Ethnologique, Paris, France, 1984