Some thieves have stolen my photographs

A few weeks ago, three of my photographs were stolen.
For the purpose of an exhibition, they were kept in a specific place.
The thieves entered this place and stole many things, including my photographs. I’m sure that they didn’t come into this place to specifically steal my work. They just stole it without thinking.

Let’s be clear: I don’t blame the people in charge of exhibiting my work.
It’s not their fault at all.

The stolen photographs: Nuits Blanches / Pauline Le Pichon

I must say that this news left me surprised and, above all, confused.
The first thing I said was “well, what happened is really weird, but the most important is that I get my money back”. I know I may sound stingy, but I had paid a certain amount of money for these photos (printing and framing) and since I don’t earn a lot of money, I wanted to make sure I got my money back.
Then I thought about my images. Will they be taken out of their frames, torn apart, thrown away and replaced by other pictures? Will they be hung in a living room? I‘ll probably never know.

The art world is full of misconceptions.

Lately, my career has taken an interesting path: in the past five years, I’ve exhibited my work in many great artistic venues, including three museums, several festivals, an art fair and a gallery. I’m going to exhibit my work in two galleries in the coming months. So yes, I’m happy with the way things are going. It seems that my hard work is finally paying off.
A few years ago, I read an article dealing with the difficulties artists can face. One of them is the fact that our work is sometimes displayed in museums yet we don’t earn anything from these exhibitions. And this is something I’m familiar with.
I’m lucky to have two jobs that I love and with which I can earn money (besides being a visual artist, I’m also a freelance photographer and an instructor). But if I were “just” an artist, my salary would almost be non-existent.
Last year, I discovered that I had a profile on a website called “Artfacts”. This website ranks artists according to the number and type of exhibitions they participate in and the institution type. Concerning my profile, not all of my exhibitions are taken into account, yet I think I have a pretty good ranking. I’m happy about that, even though I don’t really know how reliable this website is. And I also think that the number and type of exhibitions you participate in do not always reflect the quality of your work.
My point is that we never know what artists really experience. Exhibiting in a museum or having a good ranking on a website doesn’t make you famous and rich. This is a misconception. But it already means a lot since it means that your work is interesting and is becoming valuable.
I can’t imagine what those thieves had in mind when they stole my work.
But what I’m trying to say is that they may have been fooled like those who think it’s easy to exhibit in this kind of place, or those who think that you’re famous and rich once you’ve exhibited your work in a museum.

What happened also made me think about the importance of having insurance. What would have happened if the festival had not had insurance? Those thieves don’t know how much creativity, energy, time and money I put in this work.
So let’s end this article with a rather obvious piece of advice: always make sure you have your work insured before exhibiting it.

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Pauline Le Pichon

Pauline Le Pichon

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I’m a French visuel artist, freelance photographer, instructor and writer.