'J'ai Vu'


a Popular French Newsmagazine

left : a special issue - the war from August to November 1914
right : a special issue on French generals

left : corpses in a wagon
right : French soldiers on skis on a mountaintop in Alsace


left : 'Hansi' (seated far left), a well-known Alsatian artist
right : a French general decorating a wounded soldier

'J'ai Vu' ('I Saw' or 'I Was an Eyewitness') was somewhat similar to 'Le Miroir'. It consisted mainly of war-related photos with a few articles. The first weekly issue appeared in November 1914, when it became obvious the war would not be over with for some time to come yet. Between August and October of 1914, publication of many French magazines was interrupted by the outbreak of war. Around the same time, new magazines, publishing almost exclusively war news started to appear, 'J'ai Vu' being one such. The magazine published many photos of the more shocking kind - corpses (preferably German), wounded, destroyed buildings and landscapes. In this it seemed as if 'J'ai Vu' was trying to outdo 'Le Miroir'. Conversely it also published many interesting photos of life behind the lines, of the everyday routine of soldiers and how they spent their time when not in battle or holding front line trenches. 'J'ai Vu' also liked to use cut-out photographs to make photo-montages around a particular subject, a style that would become more popular in magazines in later decades.

Later in the war, by 1917, 'J'ai Vu' became less of a news photo magazine and started publishing different kinds of material such as serialized fiction novels, articles on social and artistic matters as well as on science and sports.

'J'ai Vu' made a point of using unpublished photographs of the war. This meant that amateur or free-lance photos were preferred over those offered by news agencies. 'J'ai Vu' advertised for such shots, offering top prices and urging anyone with such photographs to send them in for consideration. This editorial policy and trademark made for unique and less usual scenes, especially of the frontlines and adjacent sectors, where French soldiers were relatively free to take pictures of their companions and surroundings. It also made for a relatively modern appearing magazine, in which the human-interest angle was well-represented. 'J'ai Vu' and 'Le Miroir' were therefore two of the most interesting and striking Great War magazines to be published in France, with a wealth of unique and unusual photographic material.

*see also pages from 'J'ai Vu' on the siege of Antwerp / Chasseurs Alpin


two advertisements for 'J'ai Vu' taken from 'la Guerre Aerienne'



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