“Vu”, history of the very first photojournalism magazine

“Vu”, history of the very first photojournalism magazine

Lucien Vogel, born Lucien Antoine Hermann, son of the comic author Hermann Vogel, got in the publishing in 1906, but nobody knew that 22 years later he would have started a revolution. The Twenties saw the birth of modern photojournalism. Erich Salomon, Felix Hans Man and Tim Gidal first represented the role of the photo reporter, and it’s at the end of that decade that the first magazine of this kind made their appearance.


1928 is the “Vu” year, the first pictorial magazine distributed on wide range. Just founded in France by Lucien Vogel, who, as a brilliant, illuminated and charming man, brought his magazine a new goal: bring photos to life. Tale them. In doing so, “Vu” became the forerunner of all the great photojournalism magazines we know today, like “Life”, “Time”, “Look” and many others.

Firstly inspired by the weekly mag “Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung”, “Vu” stood out thanks to its constructivist aesthetic and the innovative layout, beside the many collaborations with photographers of global significance. It soon became the first weekly landmark magazine in the world of photojournalism, having by its side photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Robert Capa, Brassaï, and attracting attention from notorious characters like Charlie Chaplin and Marlene Dietrich, that appeared on the many magazine covers.

Alexander Liberman, russian american publisher, photographer and painter, worked side to side with Lucien Vogel, first contributing as art director and then as managing editor, constantly in touch with the main photographers of his time. Vogel already was an established publisher, an illuminated man of his time, but still seriously into politics. This temperament was clear and evident, especially through his magazine “Vu”, which sustained his fight against fascism, nazism and francoism, spreading in whole Europe.


The increasing centrality of politics, as for Lucien as for the sinking Europe, brought life, in 1931 thanks to the “Vu” founder, to an international press review translated in french called “Lu”. Lately merged with “Vu” in 1937. “Vu”, still, had not such of a life. Twelve years, 600 publications. 1940 was the beginning of the Second World War and the end of “Vu”, the first real photojournalism magazine.

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