Last week, American Photo contributing editor Eliane Laffont received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Griffin Museum in Boston. Eliane and her husband, Jean Pierre Laffont created both the Gamma and Sygma photo agencies, which changed the business of photojournalism and made the medium immensely more important. Along the way, they helped create the careers of a number of now-famous photographers. In the photo above, you see Laffont being congratulated by Jean-Francois Leroy, the driving force behind the Visa pour L'Image photojournalism festival in France, and Kathy Ryan, the photography editor of the New York Times Magazine. (By the way, the museum also gave a Focus Award for Writing to AP Executive Editor Russell Hart, so we felt very well represented.)
Accepting her award, Laffont spoke passionately about the important role photojournalism plays in our society. I thought readers of this blog would like to hear her words. What follows is a transcript of her speech.