Urging the World to See


Jean-Christian Rostagni was born and raised in the Rhône valley of France. At the age of fifteen he discovered photography while traveling with his parents around the Mediterranean sea. He has since devoted his life to its practice.

Rostagni attended two schools of photography in France. The second was created after the development in the Western part of Provence of a new generation of photographers which was not without some resemblance to the American West Coast scene with Ansel Adams and Weston. Only in France the cult of fine printing was supplemented with a sensitivity to the socio-cultural goals that photography there is meant to have. This is where Rostagni met his mentor Denis Brihat (one of the world masters of black and white printing and toning). Rostagni began his career as a professional photographer in the Aix en Provence area where he lived and worked for 12 years in his studio-gallery. Then Rostagni spent three years in Paris where he developed some commercial photography activity with some high caliber customers like British Petroleum and the Société des Eaux de Paris. He and his wife Trisha decided to move to the Triangle (central North Carolina) in 1993.

In the Triangle Rostagni started a book project with the novelist Clyde Edgerton about the Durham Bulls in Durham Athletic Park, seen as an idealization of minor league baseball. He also collaborated with the same writer on an essay about the North Carolina State Fair for the southern literary magazine "The Oxford American". That essay was republished as a serial by the News and Observer of Raleigh in the Fall of 1996 as an illustration of the ongoing fair. One of the Triangle's most celebrated band "The Squirrel Nut Zippers" also used one of his photographs as their main promotion illustration for their second CD "Hot" which ended up turning gold. He exhibited works in the '95 and '97 New Art in the Triangle shows at Duke University Museum of Art, as well as in the 10th year Retrospective show of the Durham Blues Festival.

Jean-Christian Rostagni has been published by Le Monde, Elegant Bride, Marie-Claire, the O.E.C.D. Observer, etc, as well as by Art postcard publishers. He taught a Master Class of fine art photography at Duke Craft Center, gave lectures about photography at the North Carolina Governor School and the Alliance Française. In the summer of 2009, Rostagni taught a course of digital Photography at the Institute for American Universities in Aix en Provence. He has been the recipient of a 1996-97 Emerging Artist Grant from Durham Arts Council. Beside his photographic activities, Jean-Christian Rostagni used to make some commentaries, generally sociologically and politically oriented, on W.U.N.C. Radio.

Jean-Christian Rostagni was honored nationally in November 2000, when his wedding photographs were displayed on the Leica camera booth at the Photo East show in New York. Leica camera is the most prestigious firm in the photo industry, it is to photography what Mercedes is to automobiles. Jean-Christian Rostagni has contributed several articles to Photo Techniques magazine. In 2007 he was commissioned to create a photograph for the cover of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke.

As an artist Rostagni has always been driven by the desire to touch a mass audience with photographic works that, at first glance, are understandable, yet with study exhibit intriguing depth and complexity. He is totally devoted to delivering second to none prints, offering the best of the marriage between American and French schools of photography. He operates under a professional concept of "Décilleur Professionnel" (which translates into "somebody who professionnally forces people to see what they could not or would not want to see," hence the slogan "Urging the World to See."


Chat with John Lennon. Havana, july 2003